International literature and music festival

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In conversation with Zadie Smith


Saturday November 4, 2023


21.20 - 22.20




Festivaltent The Hideout


Aldith Hunkar

Image for Zadie Smith

Dominique Nabokov


Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith, the bestselling author of White Teeth, makes her first foray into historical fiction with The Fraud, which is set in 1873 and tells the intertwined stories of a Scottish housekeeper and a former Jamaican slave.

Mrs Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper and cousin by marriage of a once-famous novelist William Ainsworth. She is a woman of many interests – literature, justice, abolitionism, class – and becomes captivated by the famous Tichborne Trial, in which an Australian butcher claims to be heir to a sizable estate and title.

The key witness in that trial is Andrew Bogle, who grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica. He knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost, that the rich deceive the poor, and that people are more easily manipulated than they realize. When Bogle finds himself in London, star witness in a celebrated case of imposture, he knows his future depends on telling the right story.

Based on historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity and the mystery of other people.

Smith is the author of five novels, three collections of essays and a book of short stories. She has won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award, among others, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.