You may know Zadie Smith as the virtuosic author of NW and White Teeth.
The best thing you can do is read her novels. The second best thing is to read her essays on anything.
2. She has a sense of humor about being a British writer.
From “This Is How It Feels To Me”:
3. And about book reviews.
From “The Difficult Gifts of David Foster Wallace”:
4. She’s wise to the perils of common sayings.
From “Speaking In Tongues”:
5. She knows minorities deserve more than “tolerance.”
Via “F. Kafka, Everyman”:
6. She interviewed Jay Z and knew his lyrics by heart.
7. She sparred with the most feared English book critic and won the debate with grace.
It wasn’t a bloodsport. It was a great conversation.
10. She refuses to be pigeonholed.
11. She refused the deification of Steve Jobs.
From “Creativity As Refusal”:
12. She defended Obama’s code-switching.
Read her whole speech here. You’ll want to underline every other sentence.
13. She distilled much from David Foster Wallace.
While acknowledging that being distilled was the last thing he wanted. Read her eulogy for DFW.
14. Most of all, she parses the simple sugar of hedonism from the deeper joys.