Quotes by: Zadie Smith

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All my books are made up of other books. They're all deeply structured on other fiction, because I was a student in fiction and I didn't have much actual living to draw on. I suspect a lot of other people's novels are like that, too, though they might be slower to talk about it.
Zadie Smith
I don't keep any copies of my books in the house - they go to my mum's flat. I don't like them around.
Zadie Smith
I like books that expose me to people unlike me and books that do battle against caricature or simplification. That, to me, is the heroic in fiction.
Zadie Smith
I'm very attracted to exile literature - particularly Nabokov - exactly because the idea of being away from home for any serious length of time is so inconceivable to me.
Zadie Smith
Can't a rapper insist, like other artists, on a fictional reality, in which he is somehow still on the corner, despite occupying the penthouse suite?
Zadie Smith
It seems that if you put people on paper and move them through time, you cannot help but talk about ethics, because the ethical realm exists nowhere if not here: in the consequences of human actions as they unfold in time, and the multiple interpretive possibility of those actions.
Zadie Smith
I often worry that my idea of personhood is nostalgic, irrational, inaccurate.
Zadie Smith
Young people understand the world. They should be listened to on matters of politics and world organization. But they know nothing of their own lives.
Zadie Smith
Nabokov, who I loved more than any other writer when I was young, had such contempt for dialogue. When I was younger, I never wrote a word of dialogue because of him. I thought it was a childish part of a novel.
Zadie Smith
English, as a subject, never really got over its upstart nature. It tries to bulk itself up with hopeless jargon and specious complexity, tries to imitate subjects it can never be.
Zadie Smith
Your mid-thirties is a good time because you know a fair amount, you have some self-control.
Zadie Smith
All novels attempt to cut neural routes through the brain, to convince us that down this road the true future of the novel lies.
Zadie Smith
Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
Zadie Smith
My feeling is, having lived in different classes, that people want equality of opportunity... that's the thing that makes me despair: the idea that people aren't given equality of opportunity.
Zadie Smith
I suppose I often think of my writing as quite impersonal. But it turned out, when my father died, writing was exactly what I wanted to do.
Zadie Smith
Without the balancing context of everyday life, all you have is the news, and news by its nature is generally bad.
Zadie Smith
I tap danced for ten years before I began to understand people don't make musicals anymore. All I wanted to do was be at MGM working for Arthur Freed or Gene Kelly or Vincent Minelli. Historical and geographical constraints made this impossible. Slowly but surely the pen became mightier than the double pick-up time step with shuffle.
Zadie Smith
There is no bigger crime, in the English comic novel, than thinking you are right.
Zadie Smith
I just realized quite early on that I'm not going to be the type who can write a novel every two years. I think you need to feel an urgency about the act. Otherwise, when you read it, you feel no urgency, either. So I don't write unless I really feel I need to, and that's a luxury.
Zadie Smith
The roots of rap are originally ghetto-ised or extremely working class. So when you're an artist who's making something which isn't how its mainstream appearance should be, there's always these strange questions of authenticity and what you have to do to be 'real' as a rapper.
Zadie Smith
There is a kind of desperate need for somebody to tell everyone what to do, which I find really peculiar in America. And then when you tell them, they're not interested, because it's also a country where everybody's opinion is their opinion, and they really don't give a damn what you think. So it's a very odd experience.
Zadie Smith
The idea that motherhood is inherently somehow a threat to creativity is just absurd.
Zadie Smith
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