Black Writers: Zadie Smith and Caryl Phillips

WED, FEB 12, 2003 (1:32:36)

Authors Zadie Smith, White Teeth and The Autograph Man, and Caryl Phillips, The Final Passage, Crossing the River and Cambridge will read from their work. Zadie Smith, at age 14, changed her name from Sadie to Zadie, and in 2000, as a 21-year-old Cambridge University graduate, published her first novel, White Teeth. In her second novel, The Autograph Man, Smith dissects both celebrity culture and mystic Judaism. Smith has now turned to nonfiction, spending a few years stateside as a fellow at Radcliffe College’s Bunting Institute. She is at work on a book of essays, The Morality of the Novel, in which she considers a selection of 20th-Century writers through the lens of moral philosophy. Caryl Phillips was born in St. Kitts on March 13, 1958 and moved to England after just one year. There he took an honors BA at Oxford and began his writing career. Currently, he lives in Amherst where he serves as writer in residence. Phillips was recently appointed as chief editor of the Faber and Faber Caribbean writers’ series. Watch ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre’s two-part adaptation of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth on WGBH Channels 2 and 44.

+ BIO: Caryl Phillips

Caryl Phillips is a British writer with a Caribbean background, best known as a novelist. He is now professor at Yale University and a visiting professor at Barnard College of Columbia University. He has tackled themes on the African slave trade from many angles. His work has been recognized by numerous awards including the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the 1993 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Crossing the River and the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book award for A Distant Shore.

Harvard Du Bois Institute
African American Culture Series