By Amy Greensmith, Danielle Hernandez, Emily Lavin, Leah Murphy and
Zadie Smith is a celebrated British writer who made her debut in 2000 with the bestselling and multi-award-winning novel White Teeth. Since her breakout, Smith has gone on to write several other novels, short story collections and a plethora of essays. Now, for her first novel in seven years, Zadie Smith is embarking on a new realm of writing: historical fiction.
Smith’s sixth novel, The Fraud, is based on real historical events of a nineteenth century criminal trial, whilst keeping “one eye focused clearly on today’s political populism” (The New York Times). The story is told through the characters of Eliza Touhet, a Scottish widow, and Andrew Bogle, a formerly enslaved Jamaican man serving as a witness for the man on trial. With similarities between the novel’s setting and the fallout of Trump’s presidential reign, Smith’s first historical endeavour promises to be a thrilling read.
In this issue, we will be exploring how the marketing campaign has successfully incorporated in-person events to promote the upcoming release.
Book events are a dynamic and impactful way to market new literary releases. As we will see in the campaign for Zadie Smith’s The Fraud, events can sometimes form the bulk of a book’s promotional strategy. In the digital age, where social media seems to dominate marketing campaigns for new releases, book events offer a unique platform for authors to connect directly with their readers and foster human connection.
Marketing campaigns for Zadie Smith’s previous novels such as White Teeth and On Beauty incorporated a mix of readings, discussions, and book signings. By engaging audiences in thought-provoking conversations about her novels’ themes and inspirations, Smith not only deepens readers' understanding of her work but also forges a personal connection that lingers long after the event. The Fraud stands to benefit from a similar approach, with a wide range of promotional events planned.
By tapping into Smith’s established fan base and enticing new readers, these events serve as both a literary celebration and a chance to expand her readership. Furthermore, in person events can be a great way to promote a novel through word of mouth. As attendees share their experiences online, a ripple effect of anticipation can spread across social media.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the exciting events lined up to celebrate the launch of The Fraud.
Ahead of The Fraud’s release on 7 September, Smith will be appearing at The Leggate Theatre for a sold-out event with Waterstones Liverpool and will be in discussion with Caroline Cauchi Smailes, an author of acclaimed historical and experimental fiction novels. As The Fraud is Smith’s first venture into the historical genre, pairing with an established author of this genre positions the book as one to look out for. Hosting the event at this large scale venue will likely attract fans both old and new of Smith’s work, as well as the general public, creating an even more widespread buzz around The Fraud.
If the pre-launch excitement wasn’t enough, Waterstones Piccadilly are hosting a signing on publication day, with tickets including access to the event as well as a copy of The Fraud; readers will have the chance to meet Smith and even get one of her backlist books signed as well as her latest, creating a special keepsake for long-time fans at this more intimate event.
Smith is also set to appear at an exciting event hosted by The Portobello Bookshop at the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre in Edinburgh on 8 September; as this is the only event held in Scotland to celebrate the release of The Fraud, readers won’t want to miss out on this exclusive chance to hear Smith in conversation with journalist Chitra Ramawamy and personally connect with Smith while getting their copies signed after the talk.
This expansive event schedule also includes an evening with Smith at the SouthBank Centre on 6 September, where the bestselling author will answer audience questions and sign copies of The Fraud included with the top-price tickets. Presented in partnership with the South Bank Centre, Europe's largest centre for the arts and a well-known venue for providing world-class cultural events, this talk is bound to attract a wide audience. The brand recognition and marketing reach of such a leading organisation will no doubt be a huge asset to the campaign. Special host Octavia Bright has also amplified buzz around the event. Having released a powerful memoir about addiction earlier this year, co-hosting the Literary Friction podcast and presenting the popular BBC Radio 4 show Open Book, Bright is no stranger to sparking thought-provoking conversations around literature, making her a perfect choice to host this exciting event.
Smith will also be returning to her local Queens Park Book Festival on 3 September to talk to author and journalist Alex Clark about her new novel. With a noteworthy career in journalism, covering political issues and current news events, audience members can expect a lively conversation from this pair exploring themes of hypocrisy and self-deception in Smith’s first ever historical novel retelling a criminal court case in fictional Victorian England.