|Alma mater||University of Aberdeen|
She was born to working-class parents, raised in a council house in Inverness and now lives in Cambridge. She studied at the University of Aberdeen and then at Newnham College, Cambridge, for a PhD that she never finished. She worked as a lecturer at University of Strathclyde until she fell ill with CFS/ME. Following this she became a full-time writer and now writes for The Guardian, The Scotsman, and the Times Literary Supplement. Openly gay, she lives in Cambridge with her partner filmmaker Sarah Wood.
In 2009, she donated the short story Last (previously published in the Manchester Review Online) to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the 'Fire' collection.
Short story collections
- Free Love and Other Stories (1995), awarded the Saltire First Book of the Year award.
- Other Stories and Other Stories (1999)
- The Whole Story and Other Stories (2003)
- The First Person and Other Stories (2008)
- Like (1997)
- Hotel World (2001), awarded the Encore Award, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and the inaugural Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The novel was adapted for the stage by Kidbrooke secondary school and was performed at the Greenwich Theatre and the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
- The Accidental (2005), shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and won the 2005 Whitbread Novel of the Year award.
- Girl Meets Boy (2007), winner of Diva magazine readers’ choice Book of the Year, Sundial Scottish Arts Council Novel of the Year.
- There But For The (2011), cited by the Guardian book review as one of the best novels of the year.
- How To Be Both (2014), shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.
- Artful (2012), shortlisted for the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize (2013).
- "Shire" (2013), with images by Sarah Wood: short stories and autobiographical writing. Full Circle Editions.
- Ali Smith partnered with the Scottish band Trashcan Sinatras and wrote the lyrics to a song called "Half An Apple", a love song about keeping half an apple spare for a loved one who is gone. The song was released on 5 March 2007, on the album Ballads of the Book.
- In 2008 Ali Smith produced The Book Lover a collection of her favourite writing including pieces from Sylvia Plath, Muriel Spark, Grace Paley, and Margaret Atwood. It also includes work from lesser known writers like Joseph Roth and Clarice Lispector.
- In 2011 she wrote a short memoir for The Observer in their "Once upon a life" series 'Looking back on her life, writer Ali Smith returns to the moment of conception to weave a poignant and funny memoir of an irreverent father, a weakness for Greek musicals and a fateful border crossing' online text here.
- In October 2012, she read a sermon at Manchester Cathedral to guests and students, followed by a book signing
- In 2013, Smith published Artful, a book based on her lectures on European comparative literature delivered the previous year at Saint Anne's College, Oxford. Much more than a work of literary criticism, it is a book about what art can do. Artful was well-received, with one reviewer commenting that, "...her new book, in which she tugs at God’s sleeve, ruminates on clowns, shoplifts used books, dabbles in Greek and palavers with the dead, is a stunner."
- On 14 May 2013 Ali Smith gave the inaugural Harriet Martineau lecture, in celebration of Norwich, UNESCO City of Literature.
- Winterson, Jeanette (25 April 2003). "Ali Smith". The Times. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "Ali Smith". Contemporary Writers in the UK. The British Council. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- Matthews, Elizabeth (30 March 2007). "Novel approach struck a chord with Inverness writer". The Inverness Courier. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- "Ali Smith". guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Limited. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- Oxfam: Ox-Tales
- Guest, Katy (3 October 2008). "The First Person and Other Stories, By Ali Smith". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
- Buksh, Ayshea (30 March 2007). "School actors take centre stage". BBC London. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Dawson Scott, Robert and Maxwell, Dominic (30 July 2007). "The 20 must-see acts at the Edinburgh Fringe". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year". Scottish Arts Council. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/nov/25/books-of-the-year Books of the year 2011
- "Man Booker Prize: Howard Jacobson makes shortlist". BBC News. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
- "Jim Crace makes Goldsmiths Prize shortlist". BBC news. 1 October 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Shortlist 2013". Goldsmiths Prize. 1 October 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- A Light to Read By, by Leah Hager Cohen in The New York Times, February 1, 2013
- Full text: "Brick: a literary journal" (Number 92, Winter 2014, pp. 9–27); extract on line at www.brickmag.com.