Author Focus: Zadie Smith

by Louise Hilton

If you’re looking for a fresh literary voice, look no further than Zadie Smith, a British novelist best known for her debut, White Teeth, an engrossing novel that spans the decades-long friendship of an Englishman named Archie and his best friend Samad, a Bangladeshi who immigrated to England after World War II. Smith’s gift lies in her rich character development and absorbing portrayals of the immigrant experience. Life in the rich melting-pot of cultures (and the inevitable culture clash that ensues) in London, and, in the case of her novel On Beauty, Boston, is a recurring theme in Smith’s novels.

White Teeth won numerous awards, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread Prize, and the Overall Commonwealth Writers Prize. Smith’s third novel On Beauty was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize and won Britain’s prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction (awarded to the best English-language novel written by a woman of any nationality). Most deserving of these accolades, Zadie Smith is an author not to be missed.

Smith’s novels are White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and her long-awaited latest offering, NW; she also wrote a collection of essays entitled Changing My Mind. NW just hit shelves this fall and is a captivating read, focusing on the lives of four young residents of the Northwest part of London (hence the title) – check your local library for a copy.

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