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Zadie Smith biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Read-Alikes

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith

How to pronounce Zadie Smith: zay-dee

Zadie Smith Biography

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time; as well as a novella, The Embassy of Cambodia; three collections of essays, Changing My Mind, Feel Free and Intimations; a collection of short stories, Grand Union; and the play, The Wife of Willesden, adapted from Chaucer. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. Zadie Smith was born in north-west London, where she still lives.



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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
The Fraud jacket Grand Union jacket Feel Free jacket Swing Time jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes 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.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Leila Aboulela

    Leila Aboulela

    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:
    Minaret
    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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