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Monica Ali is the Greatest

By Melissa Feldsher in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 18, 2009 4:40PM

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Image courtesy of Christchurch City Libraries
Some have framed the fight as such: Zadie “White Teeth” Smith v. Monica “Brick Lane” Ali.

Smith, born to an English father and Jamaican mother and graduate of Cambridge, is famous for her first novel White Teeth, which interweaves three families in contemporary, chicken tikka-laden London. Ali, born to Bangladeshi and English parents and graduate of Oxford, is beating a path toward the title of literary heavyweight with her first novel, Brick Lane. Shortlisted in 2003 for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and released as a feature film in 2007, Brick Lane chronicles the British immigrant experience (Brick Lane is the predominantly Bangladeshi area in London).

In the Kitchen follows up that significant junior effort and further explores the idea of multicultural clashes under the backdrop of an upscale hotel restaurant. She will be on hand tonight at the Harold Washington Library Center to dispel British stereotypes, quell superficial comparisons to Zadie Smith, and of course, talk about her new book. She’s sure to knock you out.

Writers on the Record with Victoria Lautman presents Monica Ali, Thursday June 18, 6:00 p.m., Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State Street, Free.