Quotes by: Zadie Smith

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As far as I'm concerned, if you want to find out about the last day of WWII or the roots of the Indian Mutiny, get thee to a books catalogue.
Zadie Smith
English writing tends to fall into two categories - the big, baggy epic novel or the fairly controlled, tidy novel. For a long time, I was a fan of the big, baggy novel, but there's definitely an advantage to having a little bit more control.
Zadie Smith
Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand - but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
Zadie Smith
I never attended a creative writing class in my life. I have a horror of them; most writers groups moonlight as support groups for the kind of people who think that writing is therapeutic. Writing is the exact opposite of therapy.
Zadie Smith
I think of reading like a balanced diet; if your sentences are too baggy, too baroque, cut back on fatty Foster Wallace, say, and pick up Kafka as roughage.
Zadie Smith
My life is black and white and mixed. My mother's a Rastafarian, my dad was a short white guy - it's not an affectation. It's also the lives of millions of people throughout the world.
Zadie Smith
It seems to me that we often commit ourselves wholly to something while knowing almost nothing concrete about it. Another word for that, I suppose, is 'faith.'
Zadie Smith
I like books that don't give you an easy ride. I like the feeling of discomfort. The sense of being implicated.
Zadie Smith
A lot of people seem to feel that joy is only the most intense version of pleasure, arrived at by the same road - you simply have to go a little further down the track. That has not been my experience.
Zadie Smith
Working with great writers can be humbling and frightening, but it can also change you for good, forever.
Zadie Smith
Normally, young writers have all the time in the world and they don't always use it well.
Zadie Smith
I don't take notes. I don't have any notebooks. I keep on trying to do that because it seems like a very writerly thing to do, but my mind doesn't work that way. I tend to get the idea for a novel in a big splash.
Zadie Smith
People with children will know this: when the childcare is over, it's over on the dot. You immediately have to go into child mode; there's no down time.
Zadie Smith
Writing is my way of expressing - and thereby eliminating - all the various ways we can be wrong-headed.
Zadie Smith
I noticed in America that if you write a book of any kind, you're made to be the representative of all the issues that might surround it.
Zadie Smith
I just can't get used to the idea of being somebody unreal in people's minds. I can't live my life like that. And it's just anathema to being a writer. It's not healthy.
Zadie Smith
I recognize myself to be an intensely naive person. Most novelists are, despite frequent pretensions to deep socio-political insight.
Zadie Smith
The utterly fallacious idea at the heart of the pro-war argument is that it is the duty of the anti-war argument to provide an alternative to war. The onus is on them to explain just cause.
Zadie Smith
The lack of alternatives to an illegal action does not legitimise that action.
Zadie Smith
Don't romanticise your 'vocation.' You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no 'writer's lifestyle.' All that matters is what you leave on the page.
Zadie Smith
I have an ambition to write a great book, but that's really a competition with myself. I've noticed that a lot of young writers, people in all media, want to be famous but they don't really want to do anything. I can't think of anything less worth striving for than fame.
Zadie Smith
Asking why rappers always talk about their stuff is like asking why Milton is forever listing the attributes of heavenly armies. Because boasting is a formal condition of the epic form. And those taught that they deserve nothing rightly enjoy it when they succeed in terms the culture understands.
Zadie Smith
Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.
Zadie Smith
Oh yes, my generation liked to be in some pain when they read. The harder it was, the more good we believed it was doing us.
Zadie Smith
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