Culture Buff

Zadie Smith

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

She had a heady start to her writing career. The rights to her first novel were the subject of a bidding war while it was still incomplete and she had not yet graduated from Cambridge; the novel became an international best-seller and multi-award winner. That novel was White Teeth; its author, Zadie Smith, was born in 1975 in London to a Jamaican mother and an English father.

Her success was no flash in the pan. Her second novel The Autograph Man, was published in 2002 to less critical acclaim but to considerable commercial success. In 2005, her third novel, On Beauty, enjoyed widespread critical praise, being short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and winning two other major prizes.


Jumping forward to this year, Zadie Smith has published Intimations: Six Essays (Penguin Random House). Utterly contemporary and written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by this extraordinary situation. Zadie Smith is a beautiful and thought-provoking writer; these essays are ‘suffused with profound intimacy and tenderness’.

Zadie Smith met her husband, Northern Ireland-born Nick Laird, at Cambridge; they married in 2004 in King’s College Chapel. He is also a successful novelist and writer. They have two daughters and, in normal times, move between Queen’s Park, London and New York City where Smith is professor of fiction at NYU. At 45, Zadie Smith is deservedly an international literary star.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
Close