Zadie Smith: Swing Time - in conversation

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An essential writer for our times, hear Zadie Smith - author of the award-winning novels White Teeth, and On Beauty  - reflect on fiction, friendship and capturing a changing world on the page.

Zadie Smith by southbankcentre

Zadie Smith reads from new new novel Swing Time, and joins Ted Hodgkinson, Southbank Centre's Senior Programmer, Literature and Spoken Word, in conversation on our Royal Festival Hall stage.

In this fascinating discussion, the writer talks about the inspiration she drew from dance for Swing Time, and its characters. Smith also talks candidly about the writing process as well as her fascination with time ('It's really the only subject for me') as a recurring motif within her work, and for the freedom it offers a writer.

In my novels I've so enjoyed being an old white guy, a strange Jewish autograph collector, an old black American woman, a young hot black guy swimming in a pool in Boston. I like being all those people, which was always my issue with time, that I would only get to live once, as me. In the novels I get to be all those people, and presumably offend the representatives of all those people on earth.
Zadie Smith