In 2000, Zadie Smith published her debut novel White Teeth, which was immediately met with critical acclaim. It has since sold more than two million copies and was adapted into a four-part television drama in 2002. Set predominantly between the mid-1970s to late 1990s within a burgeoning, multicultural London, White Teeth narrates the complex intergenerational histories of three families, exploring issues of immigration, integration, belonging, and cultural encounter. Though not naïve in its optimism, White Teeth champions the richness of multiculturalism. Drawing the novel into dialogue with Pope Francis’ concept of a “culture of encounter,” Anna Blackman’s talk will examine how societal contexts have changed since the novel was first published, as well as the lessons White Teeth still has to offer.
This event is sponsored by the Future of the Humanities Project and Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. It is part of the year-long series, Cultural Encounters: Books that Have Made a Difference.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Chris Boland