Back to all writers

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is a novelist, short fiction writer and literary critic. She was born in London in 1975, to a white British father and a Jamaican mother. She spent her youth in northwest London, in neighbourhoods that also often figure in her fiction. While still a student at King’s College, Cambridge, Smith sold the manuscript of her début novel for a reported price of £250,000. Smith is married to Irish poet Nick Laird and divides her time between London and New York, where she is a Professor of Creative Writing.

After her critically acclaimed début White Teeth (2000), four more novels followed: The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005), NW (2012) and, most recently, Swing Time (2016). In addition, she has also published the essay collection Changing My Mind (2009), the novella The Embassy of Cambodia (2013) and the short story collection The Book of Other People (2007), which she edited. Smith frequently contributes to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. Her essays and stories have appeared in various newspapers and magazines in the UK and the US.

Zadie Smith was twice – in 2003 and in 2013 – selected as one of Granta’s best novelists under 40. In 2002, she was elected a fellow to the Royal Society of Literature. In addition to receiving much critical attention (see the bibliography on this page), Smith’s work has won many awards, including the Whitbread First Novel Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for White Teeth and the Orange Prize for Fiction for On Beauty, and was nominated for many more. In 2016, she was awarded the Welt-Literaturpreis by the German national daily newspaper Die Welt.

(JVA/EB​)

Bibliography

Bentley, Nick. “Re-Writing Englishness: Imagining the Nation in Julian Barnes‟s England, England and Zadie Smith‟s White Teeth.” Textual Practice 21.3 (2007): 483-504. Print.

Berástegui Wood, Jorge. "The Autograph Man, by Zadie Smith: The Long Way to Heal Trauma." 3L: Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies 20.2 (2014): 19-    30.

Beukema, Taryn. “Men Negotiating Identity in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Postcolonial Text 4.3 (2008): 1-15. Web. 28 Apr. 2011.

Childs, Peter. "Zadie Smith: Seaching for the Inescapable." Contemporary Novelists: British Fiction since 1970. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, 201-216.

Childs, Peter, and James Green. Aesthetics and Ethics in Twenty-First Century British Novels: Zadie Smith, Nadeem Aslam, Hari Kunzru and David Mitchell. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

Cuder-Domínguez, Pilar. “Ethnic Cartographies of London in Bernardine Evaristo and Zadie Smith.” European Journal of English Studies 8.2 (2004): 173-188. Print.

Fischer, Susan A. “‘A Glance from God’: Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and Zora Neale Hurston.” Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education24.3 (2007): 285-297. Print.

Furman, Andrew. "The Jewishness of the Contemporary Gentile Writer: Zadie Smith's The Autograph Man." MELUS : Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 30.1 (2005): 3-18.

Itakura, Gen'ichiro. "Jewishness, Goyishness, and Blackness: Zadie Smith's The Autograph Man." A Sea for Encounters: Essays towards a Postcolonial Commonwealth. Ed.     Stella Borg Barthet. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009. 67-79.
Mączyńska, Magdalena. "Toward a Postsecular Literary Criticism: Examining Ritual     Gestures in Zadie Smith's Autograph Man." Religion & Literature 41.3 (2009): 73-82.

Hadjetian, Sylvia. Multiculturalism and Magic Realism in Zadie Smith's Novel White Teeth: Between Fiction and Reality. Hamburg: Anchor, 2014

Head, Dominic. “Zadie Smith‟s White Teeth: Multiculturalism for the Millenium.” Contemporary British Fiction. Ed. Richard Lane, Rod Mengham and Philip Tew. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003. 106-119. Print.

James, David. "Wounded Realism." Contemporary Literature 54.1 (2013): 204-14.

Knepper, Wendy. "Revisionary Modernism and Postmillennial Experimentation in Zadie     Smith's NW." Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade and Beyond. London:     Bloomsbury, 2013. 111-26.

Lanone, Catherine. “Mediating Multi-Cultural Muddle: E. M. Forster Meets Zadie Smith.” Etudes Anglaises 60.2 (2007): 185-195. Print.

Laursen, Ole Birk. “The Mother Country is Calling: Narrating the Second World War in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Andrea Levy’s Small Island.” Long Shadows: The Second World War in British Literature and Film, 1943 to the Present. Ed. Petra Utta-Rau. Northwestern University Press, forthcoming. Print.

Marcus, David. "Post-Hysterics: Zadie Smith and the Fiction of Austerity." Dissent 60.2 (2013): 67-73.

Meinig, Sigrun. "'What's More Important Than a Gesture?' Jewishness and Cultural     Performativity." Anglophone Jewish Literature. Ed. Axel Stähler. London: Routledge, 2007. 65-75.

Mellet, Laurent."'Just Keep on Walking in a Straight Line': Allowing for Chance in Zadie Smith's Overdetermined London (White Teeth, The Autograph Man and On Beauty)." (Re-)Mapping London: Visions of the Metropolis in the Contemporary Novel in English. Ed. Vanessa Guignery and François Gallix. Paris: Publibook, 2008. 187-99.

. "Zadie Smith's Autonomous Writing Commitments to E. M. Forster." Autonomy and Commitment in Twentieth-Century British Literature. Ed. Christine Reynier and Jean-Michel Ganteau. Montpellier: PU de la Méditerranée, 2010. 273-83.

Müller, Anette. London as a Literary Region. Augsburg: Wißner, 2007.

Nunius, Sabine. Coping with Difference: New Approaches in the Contemporary British Novel (2000–2006). LIT Verlag Münster, 2009. Print.

—."'Sameness' in Contemporary British Ficiton: (Metaphorical) Families in Zadie Smith's ​On Beauty​ (2005)." Multi-Ethnic Britain 2000+. Ed. Lars Eckstein. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008. 109-122. Print.

O’Rourke, Meghan. “Fiction in Review: Alexander Hemon’s The Question of Bruno and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.The Yale Review 88.3 (2000): 159-170. Print.

Paproth, Matthew Walker. “The Flipping Coin: The Modernist and Postmodernist Zadie Smith.” Zadie Smith, Critical Essays. Eds. Tracey L. Walters. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. 9-30. Print.

Parker, Tracey K. "'I could have been somebody': The Articulation of Identity in Zadie Smith's The Autograph Man." Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade and Beyond. 69-82. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

Pérez Fernández, Irene. “Exploring Hybridity and Multiculturalism: Intra and Inter Family Relations in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.Odisea: Journal of English Studies 10 (2010): 143-154. Web. 11 December 2014.

—. "Representing Third Spaces, Fluid Identities and Contested Spaces in Contemporary British Literature.” Atlantis 31.2 (2009): 143-160. Web. 11 December 2014.

—. “Cartografías literarias alternativas de la ciudad de Londres en la ficción de Maggie Gee y Zadie Smith”. Escritoras en redes culturales transnacionales, edited by Pastor García, Daniel, Berlin, Peter Lang, 2018, pp.59-74. 7

Pirker, Eva Ulrike Pirker "Approaching Space: Zadie Smith's North London Fiction." Beyond Britishness. Special Issue. Journal of Postcolonial Writing 52.1 (2016): 64-76.

Raynor, Sharon. “From the Dispossessed to the Decolonised: From Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners to Zadie Smith’s ‘Hanwell in Hell’.” Zadie Smith: Critical Essays. Ed. Tracey L. Walters. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. 141-156. Print.

Rich, Frank. “Zadie Smith’s Culture Warriors.” Rev. of On Beauty, by Zadie Smith. New York Times 18 September 2005. Web. 10 June 2009.

Scafe, Suzanne. "Gendered, Post-Diasporic Mobilities and the Politics of Blackness in Zadie Smith's Swing Time" Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, no. 13, 2019, pp 93-120, sta.uwi.edu/crgs/june2019/documents/CRGS_13_Pgs93-120_SScafe_GenderedPost-diasporic.pdf. Accessed 28 January 2020. 

Scafe, Suzanne. “Unsettling the Centre: Black British Fiction.” The History of British Women Writers. Vol. X, edited by Mary Eagleton and Emma Parker, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2015, pp.  214-228.

Scott, David J. “Shared and Told Tales: Multiculturalism and Participatory Narrative Identities in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth”. The International Journal of the Humanities 5 (2007): 1447-1152. Print.

Sell, Jonathan. “Chance and Gesture in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and The Autograph Man: A Model for Multicultural Identity?” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 41.27 (2006): 27-44.

. "Experimental Ethics: Autonomy and Contingency in the Novels of Zadie Smith." The Ethical Component in Experimental British Fiction since the 1960s. Ed. Susana Onega and Jean-Michel Ganteau. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2007. 150-70.

. "'Pleased to Meet You!': The Paradox of Identity in Zadie Smith's The Autograph Man." A Fluid Sense of Self: The Politics of Transnational Identity. Ed. Silvia Schultermandl and Şebnem Toplu. Vienna: Lit, 2010. 61-79.

Sicher, Efraim, and Linda Weinhouse. Under Postcolonial Eyes: Figuring the 'Jew' in Contemporary British Writing. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012.

Smith, Zadie, ed. The Book of Other People. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2007. Print.

—, ed. The May Anthologies. Varsity, 2001. Print.

. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays. Hamish Hamilton, 2009. Print.

. ​Feel Free. ​Hamish Hamilton, 2018. Print.

—. NW. London: Hamish Hamilton. 2012. Print.

—. On Beauty. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2005. Print.

—. The Authograph Man. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2002. Print.

—. White Teeth. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2000. Print.

—. “White Teeth.” Interview with Kathleen O’Grady. Women’s Studies Resources (2002): n. pag. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.

Terentowicz-Fotyga, Urszula. "The Impossible Self and the Poetics of the Urban Hyperreal in Zadie Smith's The Autograph Man." Zadie Smith: Critical Essays. Ed. Tracey L. Walters. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. 57-72.

—. "Unreal City to City of Referents: Urban Space in Contemporary London Novels." Narrating Cities. Spec. issue of Journal of Narrative Theory 39.3 (2009): 305-29.

Tew, Philip, ed. Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade And Beyond. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

—.  "Celebrity, Suburban Identity and Transatlantic Epiphanies: Reconsidering Zadie Smith's The Autograph Man." Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade and Beyond. 53-68. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

—. "Will Self and Zadie Smith's Depictions of Post-Thatcherite London: Imagining Traumatic and Traumatological Space." The Imaginaries of Space. Spec. issue of Études britanniques contemporaines: Revue de la Société d’Études Anglaises Contemporaine 47 (2014): n. pag. Web. 18 February 2015.

Thompson, Molly. “‘Happy Multicultural Land?’ The Implications of an ‘Excess of Belonging’ in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Write Black British: From Post-Colonial to Black British. Ed. Kadija Sesay. London: Hansib Publications, 2005. 123-140. Print.

Tolan, Fiona. "Zadie Smith's Forsterian Ethics: White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 54.2 (2013): 135-46.

Toplu, Şebnem, and Mati Turyel. "Relocating Chinese-Jewish-British Identity in The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith." Interactions: Ege Journal of British and American Studies 22.1-2 (2013): 129-144.

Tournay, Petra. “Challenging Shakespeare: Strategies of Writing Back in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Caryl Phillips’ The Nature of Blood’”. Refracting the Canon in Contemporary British Literature and Film, edited by Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben, Rodopi, 2004, pp. 207–228.

Tynan, Maeve. “‘Only Connect’: Intertextuality and Identity in Zadie Smith’s On Beauty”.
Zadie Smith: Critical Essays, edited by Tracey Lorraine Walters, Peter Lang, 2008, pp. 73–90.

Walters, Tracey, ed. Zadie Smith: Critical Essays. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. Print.

—.  “Black British Women’s and the Politics of Hair.” Diasporic Women’s Writing of the Black Atlantic: (En)Gendering Literature and Performance, edited by Emilia M. Durán-Almarza and Esther Álvarez-López, Routledge, 2014, pp. 60-62.

—. "Music and Metafiction: Aesthetic Strategies in Black British Writing." 'Black' British Aesthetics Today. Ed. R. Victoria Arana. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2007. 101-18.

—.  “‘We’re All English Now Mate Like It or Lump It’: The Black/Britishness of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Write Black, Write British: From Post-Colonial to Black British. Ed. Kadija Sesay. London: Hansib, 2005. 314-322. Print.

Wells, Lynn. "The Right to a Secret: Zadie Smith's NW." Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade and Beyond. London: Bloomsbury, 2013. 97-110.

Zapata, Beatriz Pérez. "'In Drag': Performativity and Authenticity in Zadie Smith's NW." International Studies: Interdisciplinary Political & Cultural Journal 16.1 (2014): 83-95.

(EB/EUP)

Image source: Dominique Nabokov (via author's website)