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Doing Everybody

January 1, 2011

Two star novelists on bringing back wrong and right, micro and macro writing, and David Foster Wallace.

Nathan Englander begins his conversation with Zadie Smith by recalling the two novelists’ first encounter, at the Capri Festival “ten thousand years ago,” and the visible reverence Smith showed for David Foster Wallace, who, along with Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, was also in attendance. In the conversation that follows, the two discuss the heralded Infinite Jest author (as well as Saul Bellow, George Eliot, and James Baldwin) and topics ranging from seeing yourself as other to morality in writing. The conversation took place at the School of Visual Arts’ intimate Silas Theatre in Manhattan. Hosted by Matawi, proceeds from the event went to benefiting the organization’s Dadaab Young Women’s Scholarship Initiative, which increases access to educational opportunity for refugee women and girls on the Kenyan/Somalian border. (Runs about 45 minutes, with audience questions beginning at 30.)


Editors Recommend:

Finding the Comfortable Spots: Emerging writer Jesse Ball on the ideal reader, Abraham Lincoln as shaman, how poetry and fiction go together, and the greatness of a mongoose.

Part of Us that Can’t Be Touched: Novelist Jennifer Egan on Goon Squad, the drug-taking intensity of high school kids, and the Gothic novel.

To contact Guernica, Zadie Smith, or Nathan Englander, please write here.

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