12 Things We Love About Zadie Smith

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Christy Childers

Staff Writer

Christy Childers is a writer obsessed with books, travel, British television, & superheroes. She has lived in Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, & England, & is never happier than when she's visiting a new country or reading a new book. Blog: Postcards to Authors Twitter: ChildersChristy

We love Zadie Smith. What’s not to love?

Here are 12 great things about Zadie Smith.

1. She’s writing a space adventure film.

(I’ll pretty much read anything Zadie Smith writes… so I will definitely go see a space adventure film that Zadie Smith writes.)

2. She’s known for her award-winning novels…

3. … like her “radical and passionate and real” book about NW London…

4. … and White Teeth, which she finished writing during her final year at Cambridge.

White Teeth Zadie Smith

(She sold that book to a publisher before she’d even finished writing it, which is crazy rare for a first novel.)

5. But she also writes fabulous nonfiction.

Like Changing My Mind, which is excellent (it’s my personal favorite of her books) and her new book of essays (due out in 2016) called Feel Free.

6. In fact, she can talk about anything, from Fawlty Towers to adapting her voice to fit in at Cambridge to beer ads… and make it poignant and interesting and truthful.

(Did I mention I’ll read anything she writes? I’ll read anything she writes.)

7. She’s got style.

“I don’t like to look vulnerable. That’s not a look that particularly interests me.” –Zadie Smith

8. When she reads out loud it’s mesmerizing.

9. She’s married to writer Nick Laird, who recently described “a typical day in the Laird/Smith household”:

“Like a typical day in any household. It’s not like we’re drinking martinis in kaftans and discussing Proust. You know, changing nappies, looking for matching socks, walking the dog, taking our daughter to school. Waiting for the nanny to come and look after our son. Going for a coffee in the café on the corner. Going to our rooms to work. Unplugging the internet and trying to write. Plugging it back in. Doing the Herald Tribune crossword. Eating lunch. Trying to write. Browsing ebay. Feeling despair. Maybe going for a run. Maybe going for a swim. Getting the kids. Making dinner. Reading, writing, ‘rithmetic. Box sets. Netflix. The usual. We’re working on several scripts together so we get to sit in the local café together and call it work.” –Nick Laird

Zadie Smith and Nick Laird

10. When she gets stuck with writing she doodles a cartoon duck holding a notepad.

11. She hangs out with the most interesting people.

Like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Karl Ove Knausgard, and Lena Dunham.

12. She mentioned once that she had been writing a book about writing, but abandoned it… I hope we get to read it someday because, while I’ll read anything she writes, I especially love hearing her talk about books and words and how reading and writing affects our day to day lives.

“Good reading is an analogy of good living… (Jane) Austen does it in a quite simple and beautiful way; other writers do it in incredibly complicated ways. And the complexity of that is a real education of the emotions and an education of the heart and it’s very hard to get that education elsewhere.

“A small theoretical text gives you an idea of beauty and makes an argument which you have to come to with your rational mind. A novel can make exactly the same case, but it does it in a different way. And those procedures are vital; they’re really important to becoming a human being. Becoming a human being isn’t something that you just get with your birth. It’s an exercise, and it takes your whole life.” –Zadie Smith

So if you haven’t read much Zadie Smith yet… Read her! I know you’ll love her.