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Langston Hughes Festival celebrates Zadie Smith’s literature

Zadie Smith book cover
The Langston Hughes Festival symposium at CCNY discusses the work of award-winning writer Zadie Smith.

On the day that Zadie Smith receives City College of New York’s venerated Langston Hughes Medal, scholars and writers hold a symposium at CCNY on Nov. 16 to deconstruct the noted novelist’s work. Entitled “I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me," the event runs 12:30 – 3 p.m. in City College’s Aaron Davis Hall, Theater B, located at 135th St. and Convent Ave. It is free and open to the public. Click here to register.

Participants in the Langston Hughes Festival symposium include:

Vanessa K. Valdés, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese in CCNY’s Division of Humanities and the Arts, author of  “Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg,” will be the moderator.

“We’re excited about presenting what I know will be a compelling discussion of Zadie Smith's writing and her impact on the literary landscape,” said Retha Powers, director of the Langston Hughes Festival.

The symposium preludes the evening’s Festival highlight at which Smith

will receive the 2017 Langston Hughes Medal. She joins a list of literary luminaries, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley, who have received the honor. 

A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Smith will give a reading. She will also engage in a conversation with Emily Raboteau, the award-winning writer and CCNY English professor.

The medal presentation will be made by Jacqueline Woodson, the renowned author and 2015 Langston Hughes Medalist. Click here to attend.

Smith’s award-winning books include: “White Teeth”(Random House, 2000), “The Autograph Man” (Vintage Books / Random House, 2002),  “On Beauty” (Penguin Books, 2005),  “NW” (Penguin Press, 2012) and “Swing Time” (Penguin Books, 2016).

In addition to her novels, she writes regularly for the New Yorker magazine and the New York Review of Books. She is a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University.

For more information on the Langston Hughes Festival email:

About the Langston Hughes Medal
The Langston Hughes Medal is awarded to highly distinguished writers from throughout the African American diaspora for their impressive works of poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography and critical essays that help to celebrate the memory and tradition of Langston Hughes. Past award winners include James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, Octavia Butler, and Edwidge Danticat.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Today more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship.  Now celebrating its 170th anniversary, CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself.  View CCNY Media Kit.




Jay Mwamba
p: 212.650.7580

View CCNY Media Kit