Westport, CT - Acclaimed author Zadie Smith will be honored in person at The Westport Library on Sunday, November 12, with the inaugural Westport Prize for Literature.
The Westport Prize for Literature is an annual prize established to honor an original work of fiction that explores issues in contemporary society. Smith was recognized this year for The Fraud, described by publisher Penguin Random House as “a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against the legal trial that divided Victorian England, about who gets to tell their story — and who gets to be believed.”
Going forward, the prize will be overseen and administered by a steering committee of Westport resident volunteers, with an independent jury selecting the winner.
“We are over the moon to announce the Westport Prize for Literature and thrilled that Zadie Smith will be our first honoree,” said Candice Savin, chair of the steering committee. “She is an icon in letters and an inspiration to writers — and a delight for readers — everywhere. We could not imagine a more deserving award winner for our inaugural prize. To have her in Westport is an honor for us and a treat for the entire community.”
Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW, and Swing Time, as well as the novella The Embassy of Cambodia. In addition, she has written three collections of essays — Changing My Mind, Feel Free, and Intimations — a collection of short stories, Grand Union, and the play, The Wife of Willesden, and is the editor of The Book of Other People.
Among her many honors, Smith has been awarded the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction for On Beauty, the Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel Award for White Teeth, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism for Feel Free, and the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright for The Wife of Willesden.
She is also a three-time nominee for the esteemed Booker Prize, and just last year was honored with the PEN America Literary Service Award.
“Zadie Smith is one of the most renowned writers of her generation and a voice that speaks to readers around the globe,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “To have her in the Library is a truly special occasion. Without question, she is a most-deserving recipient of the inaugural Westport Prize for Literature, and I commend the committee for their inspired selection.”
Starting in 2024, the Westport Prize for Literature will be presented each fall in conjunction with the Library’s annual StoryFest, the largest literary festival in Connecticut.