Between the lines

Zadie Smith is the closest we have to a literary celebrity, but her unwillingness to appear in public means we know little about her. Of course, this merely enhances her appeal

By Jason Cowley   132

A rare audience with Zadie

At the age of 31, Zadie Smith, at least from the outside, seems to have everything a young writer could wish for: a large readership, the Orange prize, super-lucrative publishing advances, critical acclaim, and the movie deal (for her most recent novel, On Beauty). She can publish whatever and whenever she wishes and in the publications of her choice. But who is she? What does she want? Where as a writer is she heading?

It is difficult to answer these questions, because Smith seldom, if ever, gives interviews, certainly in this country, and, like Graham…

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