Zadie Smith says her work reflects her love for England

As former Booker contender Zoe Heller says it’s Zadie Smith’s time to win the prize, and a writer for Slate argues that Smith isn’t ready to receive the “esteemed” award (controversially handed, year before last, to Vernon God Little), Smith has issued a press release contextualizing some remarks she made in a recent New York magazine interview.

English fiction is my first love and the joy of English culture and history infuses every aspect of my work. I live in the same street I grew up in and have no plans to leave. In the context of a phone conversation about modern England with a New York journalist, we both bemoaned the rise of bad reality TV shows and the obsession with wealth and celebrity that has gripped parts of our culture. I expressed a sadness about these things, and a sadness at the current atmosphere of fear and loathing on the tube which has been the inevitable result of the terrorist attacks upon London. Within the conversation we had, these opinions did not seem controversial.

I still haven’t received my copy of On Beauty, but a generally admiring review from James Lasdun (author of the excellent The Horned Man) appeared in the weekend’s Guardian.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.