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Zadie Smith to Receive 2021 St. Louis Literary Award

by Maggie Rotermund on 12/03/2020
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Maggie Rotermund
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The Saint Louis University Library Associates have announced the selection of British author Zadie Smith as the recipient of the 2021 St. Louis Literary Award. Smith will come to St. Louis next fall to accept the award.

Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith has been named the 2021 St. Louis Literary Award honoree. Photo by Dominique Nabokov. 

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels “White Teeth,” “The Autograph Man,” “On Beauty,” “NW,” and “Swing Time,” as well as essay collections “Changing My Mind” and “Feel Free.”

She was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002, and was listed as one of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013. “White Teeth” won multiple literary awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. “On Beauty” was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and “NW” was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Her latest work, “Intimations,” is a short series of reflective essays written during the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown. Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation.

“The Literary Award selection committee, which is comprised of SLU faculty and members from the greater St. Louis community, believe Zadie Smith’s literary catalogue ranks her among the most dynamic and influential writers of the past generation since she burst onto the scene with her novel White Teeth back in 2000,” said Edward Ibur, Executive Director of the St. Louis Literary Award . “Ms. Smith’s novels, essay collections, and short stories reveal a master storyteller whose works are thought-provoking, often humorous, and always unpredictable.”

The award ceremony and conversation with the author is planned for next fall. Additional information on the time, program, and registration will be made available as the event nears.

The 2020 award winner, Michael Chabon, will be honored in a virtual program on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

The St. Louis Literary Award

The St. Louis Literary Award is presented annually by the Saint Louis University Library Associates and has become one of the top literary prizes in the country. The award honors a writer who deepens our insight into the human condition and expands the scope of our compassion. Some of the most important writers of the 20th and 21st centuries have come to Saint Louis University to accept the honor, including Margaret Atwood, Salmon Rushdie, Eudora Welty, John Updike, Saul Bellow, August Wilson, Stephen Sondheim and Tom Wolfe.

Saint Louis University Library Associates

One of the oldest literary and cultural organizations in St. Louis, the Saint Louis University Library Associates seeks to build a closer relationship between the University and the community and to promote an appreciation for the value of literature. The Library Associates work to enhance the visibility of the Saint Louis University Libraries and to support the development of their world-class collections and services.