Zadie Smith

I just wanted to show that there are communities that function well. There's sadness for the way tradition is fading away but I wanted to show people making an effort to understand each other, despite their cultural differences. -- Zadie Smith

English novelist Zadie Smith (1975- ) is known for her debut novel White Teeth (2000), which was published to critical acclaim. Her subsequent novels, The Autograph Man (2002) and On Beauty (2005) never achieved the same critical acclaim

White Teeth is a novel about three families: the British and Jamaican Joneses, the Bangladeshi Iqbals and the Jewish Catholic Chalfens. White Teeth won the Whitbread First Novel Award 2000, the Guardian First Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize, the Betty Trask Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. In 2002 White Teeth was dramatised as a short TV series for Channel 4.

Inevitable comparisons have been made with Brick Lane, the debut novel of Monica Ali.

Zadie Smith's second novel, The Autograph Man, follows the fortunes of Alex-Li Tandem, the autograph man, a twenties something Chinese-Jewish Londoner, an autograph dealer who buys and sells autographs for a living, who is obsessed with celebrities, who is into sex, drugs and organised religion. The Autograph Man won the Jewish Quarterly Review's Wingate Literary Prize 2003.

Obsession with celebrity was the theme of Everyone Worth Knowing, the second novel, and by far the better novel, by Lauren Weisberger.

Zadie Smith's third novel, On Beauty, takes its title from an essay by Elaine Scarry 'On Beauty and Being Just'. It follows the lives of a mixed-race British-American family living in America. On Beauty was shortlisted for the 2005 Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2006.

Zadie Smith was born Sadie Smith (she changed her name when she was 14) of a Jamaican mother and an English father. She studied English literature at King's College, Cambridge. It was at Cambridge that she met her future husband, the poet Nick Laird. She lives with Nick Laird in Rome.

A copy of The Autograph Man has been registered as a BookCrossing book. [see BCID 5635785]

BookCrossing books are released into the wild and their progress tracked through the Internet via a unique Book Crossing ID (BCID).

(c) Keith Parkins 2007 -- November 2007 rev 0