10 Reasons to Love Zadie Smith

25th Oct 2013

10 Reasons to Love Zadie Smith
Today is Zadie Smith's birthday and we're celebrating the author of NW, On Beauty and White Teeth in true fan-girl style. Here are the top ten reasons we wish this brilliant writer would invite us to her birthday party. And be our friend.

1) She does not abide misogyny.

Regarding the obscene idea that she is too beautiful to be a great writer:

‘It is a really misogynistic and fascinating thought. Because what it means is that if you are beautiful, then you have no need to be intelligent – it is a very sinister thought actually.”

Zadie Smith knows that she’s a fox, as well she should. Be that as it may, she has said that putting her image in papers is not her idea and that any fascination with her looks is absurd.

2) Like us, she aspired to find fame and fortune when she was young.

… in musical theatre. She can TAP DANCE. Imagine if you will, waxing nostalgic about your shared childhood dream of starring in a Vincent Minelli picture at MGM over a cuppa with Zadie Smith. PLEASE BE OUR FRIEND.

3) Her interview with Jay-Z was brilliant.

Jay-Z ordered her a fish sandwich, because she looked like the fish-sandwich type. And she let him, as they chatted about racial justice, the future of rap music, and his daughter Blue in her NY Times profile of him.

4) She was a rebellious teen.

Smith just went ahead and changed her name as a teenager, which is what we all wanted to do while we were deep in the trenches, trying to find ourselves. At just fourteen years old, Sadie Smith changed her name to Zadie Smith.

5) She says what we’re all thinking.

When a journalist suggested that women writers should limit themselves to having one child, if any at all, Zadie Smith publicly and eloquently rubbished the claim. Smith, a mother of two, astutely noted that no one but NO ONE is talking about the size of male writers’ families.

She also mentioned that the ‘how does she do it?’ conundrum exists for mothers in all professions, and the solution is bigger than the individual women in question.

“We need decent public daycare services, partners who do their share, affordable childcare and/or a supportive community of friends and family.” Quite right.

"We’re humans, not robots. The people protesting the closing of Kensal Rise Library love that library. They were open to any solution on the left or on the right if it meant keeping their library open."6) This entire video.

7) We could shop together.

“I have a deep love for High Street clothes, that’s what I grew up on. My mother always said I make expensive clothes look cheap and cheap clothes look expensive. And that’s true…but there’s something about High Street clothes, I don’t know, I really like them.”
Stars. They’re just like us.

8) She’s more successful than her husband in their shared field, and is a total legend about it.

Her husband, the writer and poet Nick Laird, had this to say about her:

“She’s very supportive of what I do. She always has been. Poetry means a lot to her and she edits my poems, although we work very differently. She’ll send 20 readers her work when it’s finished, including me, in order to gather opinion. I’ll show nobody until it’s done, except her.”

9) She’s a champion of the hometown cause.

Library protestWhen Brent Council was threatening to shut down libraries, including Smith’s (and mine) in Kensal Rise, she sprung into action. For that alone, we owe her a pint or three. The woman has our backs.

“This is not a denigration: emotion also has a place in public policy. We’re humans, not robots. The people protesting the closing of Kensal Rise Library love that library. They were open to any solution on the left or on the right if it meant keeping their library open.”


10) In addition to being brilliant, she’s subtly hilarious.

I’m always a bit suspicious of writers who have the gift of the gab.

“I cannot believe homosexuality is that much fun. Heterosexuality certainly is not.”
White Teeth

“Novels are not about expressing yourself, they’re about something beautiful, funny, clever and organic. Self-expression ? Go and ring a bell in a yard if you want to express yourself.”

Happy Birthday, you complete and utter babe.


  • Alexis Somerville says:

    I love this! She is ace. And thanks for the video too, it’s great. 🙂