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Zadie Smith biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith

How to pronounce Zadie Smith: zay-dee

Zadie Smith Biography

Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. She is the author of the novels White Teeth,The Autograph ManOn Beauty and NW, as well as The Embassy of Cambodia and a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. Zadie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002, and was listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013. White Teeth won multiple literary awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006, and NW was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Fiction 2013. Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and lives in London and New York with her husband and two children. Swing Time was published in 2016 and Feel Free, a collection of essays, in 2018.



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Interview

Two interviews with Zadie Smith in which she talks about herself and her two books, On Beauty and White Teeth.

This is a novel based, both in plot and theme, on E. M. Forster's Howards End. How did you come to the idea of writing such a book? What is it that appeals to you about Forster's work? 

Forster represents one of the earliest loves of my reading life and the first intimations I ever had of the power and beauty of this funny, artificial little construction, the novel. I wanted to pay tribute to the influence he had on me as a teenager, and as it was a book about Beauty, I wanted the novel also to be a record of beautiful things I've loved—novels, pieces of music, certain human faces, paintings, and so on. But I actually think the points where On Beauty meets Howards End are the least interesting bits of the book for me. It was simply a way of writing inside a certain genre: the literary update. I was thinking of things like Graham Swift's As I lay Dying/Last Orders combo; Joyce using the structure of the Ulysses story; Helen Fielding using Pride and Prejudice—to mention three very disparate examples. 

It was a kind of scaffolding for me, but in the end the books only meet properly at two or three points. I suppose I still think of myself as an apprentice, and this was the end of ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Zadie Smith at BookBrowse
Grand Union jacket Feel Free jacket Swing Time jacket NW jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Zadie Smith but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Leila Aboulela

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    Leila Aboulela won the first Caine Prize for African Writing and is the author of many novels. Minaret was longlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. The Translator was one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    White Teeth

    Try:
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    by Leila Aboulela

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba, in Anambra State, but grew up in the university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and briefly studied Medicine and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    On Beauty

    Try:
    Americanah
    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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