Zadie Smith: The Fraud

Wed 6 Sep 2023, 7.30pm
Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer
Literature & poetry
From £20
past event
past event
A woman photographed against a white wall
Ben Bailey Smith

One of the most distinctive, adored novelists of her generation talks to Octavia Bright about the inspiration behind her new historical novel, The Fraud.

In this landmark novel, Smith paints an exceptionally witty and moving portrait of London and Jamaica two hundred years ago, infused with her signature joy and originality.

For this event, Smith talks to a very special guest about the origins of the new book, along with reflections on her past works.

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about how, in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what’s true can prove a complicated task.

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time, as well as three collections of essays, a collection of short stories, and the play, The Wife of Willesden.

Don’t miss your chance to hear from one of the most distinctive, exciting and widely adored novelists of her generation live in conversation.

Octavia Bright co-hosts Literary Friction, the literary podcast and NTS Radio show, with Carrie Plitt. Recommended by publications including the New York Times, The Guardian and Sunday Times, it has run for ten years and has listeners worldwide.

Bright also presents programmes for BBC Radio 4 including Open Book, and hosts literary events for bookshops, publishers, and festivals. She has a PhD from UCL where she wrote about hysteria and desire in Spanish cinema. Her debut work of non-fiction, This Ragged Grace: A Memoir of Recovery and Renewal, was published by Canongate this year.

This event is presented in partnership with Penguin

Octavia has shoulder length dark brown hair and is photographed at a table infront of some bookshelves. She wears a long sleeved black shirt and red lipstick. She leans against her palm and smiles towards the camera.
courtesy of the author
Octavia Bright

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 16+

This event is British Sign Language interpreted (BSL). Interpretation is by Omoyele Davey and Natasha Trantom (subject to change).

To book tickets for BSL interpretation, call us on 020 3879 9555 or email [email protected].

You can join our free Access Scheme through your online Southbank Centre account or via email.
Find out more about our Access Scheme
All our Access & facilities information

Top-price tickets include a copy of Zadie Smith’s new book, The Fraud for a reduced price of £15 (RRP £20).

The book must be collected on the night of the event. We’re unable to post copies after this date.

This event includes a Q&A, and there’s an opportunity to have your book signed afterwards.

Dates & times

Wed 6 Sep 2023, 7.30pm


  • Standard entryFrom £20*
  • Concessions25%**

* Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

Book as early as you can to ensure the best choice of tickets. Ticket prices may be adjusted without notice to reflect demand.

** Limited availability. Read about concessions.

Tickets can only be sold through the Southbank Centre and our authorised agents, and can't be resold. You can return your tickets to the Southbank Centre for a credit voucher up to 48 hours before the event. Tickets resold on any third-party platforms will become invalid.

Get presale tickets

Members get the first chance to book our entire programme of events, including go-down-in-history gigs, concerts with world-class orchestras, and talks from cultural icons and political giants.




Queen Elizabeth Hall

Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff. 

Check here for our current guidance

The Queen Elizabeth Hall is open 90 minutes before events

See the opening times for all our venues

Our address is: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. The nearest tube and train stations within 5-7 minutes walk are Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee and Waterloo & City lines) and Embankment (District & Circle lines). There are also lots of bus routes with stops 2-5 minutes from our venues. For more information on getting here by road, rail or river.

Visit our Getting here page

Pre-booking online is recommended. Check our website on the day for returns. There’s no need to print your e-ticket – just show your phone to our Visitor Assistants on entry.

Some free events don't require a ticket. Found an event labelled FREE on our website with no way to book? Simply turn up on the day.

If you don't receive your e-ticket

Your e-ticket will be sent to you seven days before the event date from [email protected]. If you don't receive your e-ticket, and it's not in your junk or spam folder, please get in touch. 

Email us

More information

Find out all you need to know about tickets, including concessions, group bookings, returns, credit vouchers and more, via the link below.

Frequently asked questions

Get an overview of the seating layout of Queen Elizabeth Hall by downloading our seating plan.

Download seating plan


An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

The facility includes a height-adjustable bench, tracking hoist system, a centrally-placed toilet, a height-adjustable basin and a shower. Please visit the Welcome Desk on Level 2, Royal Festival Hall, where a member of staff can provide you with the key. You can also use the phone next to the Changing Places toilet to speak to a member of staff. The facility is open daily 10am – 11pm.


The Queen Elizabeth Hall cloakroom is closed. You won’t be able to bring any bags over 40 x 25 x 25cm into the Queen Elizabeth Hall, so please leave large bags at home.

We're cash-free

Please note that we're unable to accept cash payments across our site. 

For step-free access from the Queen Elizabeth Hall Slip Road off Belvedere Road to the Queen Elizabeth Hall auditorium seating (excluding rows A to C) and wheelchair spaces in the Rear Stalls, plus Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer and the Purcell Room, please use the Queen Elizabeth Hall main entrance.

To reach this entrance, enter the Royal Festival Hall via the Southbank Centre Square Doors. Take the JCB Glass Lift to Level 2 and exit to the Riverside Terrace. Turn right to find the Queen Elizabeth Hall main entrance.

You can also use the external lift near the Artists' Entrance on Southbank Centre Square to reach Mandela Walk, Level 2. 

For access to the Queen Elizabeth Hall auditorium seating rows A to C and wheelchair spaces in the Front Stalls, please enter via the Artists' Entrance in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Slip Road (Level 1).

Talk to a member of staff at the auditorium entrance if you have a disability that means you can’t queue, or you need extra time to take your seat. They can arrange priority entry for you as soon as the doors open.

Please bear with us while we update our access map to reflect the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall’s Level 2 foyer spaces. The step-free routes remain the same.

Download step-free access map

More about Access and facilities

From a snack with coffee to cocktails and fine dining, plus some of London's best street food – it's all here on the Southbank Centre site.

Where to eat & drink