Internationally-acclaimed author Zadie Smith will write a new work as a gift to her home borough. She has been praised as one of the finest chroniclers of contemporary London, presenting vivid portraits of a multicultural city through her depictions of the north west London neighbourhoods where she grew up – from her debut novel ‘White Teeth’ to the celebrated works ‘NW’ and ‘Swing Time’.
For Brent 2020 she has reimagined Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’ as ‘The Wife of Willesden’. The work, penned 630 years after the original, will raise important questions about the place of women in society and the extent to which we are rooted in a past beyond control. Keen observers may also notice a physical connection – Chaucer’s pilgrims were probably trudging Watling Street, an ancient route which also runs along the eastern edge of Brent. ‘The Wife of Willesden’ will be performed at the Kiln Theatre on Kilburn High Road.
Zadie Smith attended Malorees Junior School in Willesden and still lives between the borough and New York where she writes and teaches.