Zadie Smith

Novelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, graduating in 1997.  Her latest work – Intimations – is a collection of essays written as lockdown started in the UK and completed around the time that George Floyd was murdered in the US.  

Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000), is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the story of three ethnically diverse families. The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book). It also won two EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards) for Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer, and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. White Teeth has been translated into over twenty languages and was adapted for Channel 4 television in 2002. 

Her third novel, On Beauty, was published in 2005, and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also published two collections of non-fiction, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (2009) and Feel Free (2018), and a collection of short stories, Grand Union (2019). 

Smith has won/been nominated for the following awards: 

2017:
Langston Hughes Medal 
Man Booker Prize (longlist) 

2013:
Women’s Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 

2006:
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 
British Book Awards Decibel Writer of the Year 
Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) 
Orange Prize for Fiction 
Somerset Maugham Award 

2005:
Man Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 

2003:
Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction 
Orange Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 
Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 

2001:
Authors’ Club First Novel Award 
Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book) 
Orange Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 
WH Smith Award for Best New Talent 

2000:
EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Book/Novel 
EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Female Media Newcomer 
Guardian First Book Award 
James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) 
Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (shortlist) 
Whitbread First Novel Award 

Smith is an environmental campaigner and activist who supports Writers Rebel.

You are never stronger… than when you land
on the wrong side of despair

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

White Teeth

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Zadie Smith’s White Teeth is a classic international bestseller and an unforgettable portrait of LondonOne of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing – among many other things – with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.

The Autograph Man

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Zadie Smith’s deeply funny, subversive and splendidly entertaining The Autograph Man is a whirlwind tour of celebrity and our fame-obsessed times. Following one Alex-Li Tandem – a twenty-something, Chinese-Jewish autograph dealer turned on by sex, drugs and organised religion – it takes in London and New York, love and death, fathers and sons, as Alex tries to discover how a piece of paper can bring him closer to his heart’s desire. Exposing our misconceptions about our idols – about ourselves – Zadie Smith delivers a brilliant, unforgettable tale about who we are and what we really want to be.

On Beauty

Available as an eBook and physical book

When Howard Belsey’s oldest son Jerome falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing Monty Kipps, both families find themselves thrown together, enacting a cultural and personal war against each other. 

Changing my Mind

Available as an eBook and physical book

Features a collection of essays on literature, cinema, art – and everything in between.

NW

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke and Russell. Five identical blocks make up the Caldwell housing estate in North West London. Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan have all moved on. They occupy separate worlds in an atomized city. Then one afternoon a stranger comes to Leah’s door, forcing her out of her isolation.

The Embassy of Cambodia

Available as a physical book

Zadie Smith takes us deep into the life of a young woman, Fatou, domestic servant to the Derawals and escapee from one set of hardships to another. Beginning and ending outside the Embassy of Cambodia, which happens to be located in Willesden, NW London, Zadie Smith’s absorbing, moving and wryly observed story suggests how the apparently small things in an ordinary life always raise larger, more extraordinary questions.

Swing Time

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Two girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, ‘Swing Time’ is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. 

Feel Free

Available as an eAudiobook and physical book

In ‘Feel Free’, pop culture, high culture, social change, and political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment, dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, and considered with a deep humanity and compassion. This electrifying new collection showcases its author as a true literary powerhouse, demonstrating once again her credentials as an essential voice of her generation.

Grand Union

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. 

Intimations

Available as a physical book

Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of essays on the experience of lockdown, by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time.

Sometimes I wonder if people don’t want freedom
as much as they want meaning.

Zadie Smith, Swing Time

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