Smith signing books at Edinburgh International Book Festival
24 August 1962 |
|Occupation||author, playwright, academic, journalist|
|Alma mater||University of Aberdeen|
Early life and education
Smith was born in Inverness on 24 August 1962 to Ann and Donald Smith. Her parents were working-class and she was raised in a council house in Inverness. From 1967 to 1974 she attended St. Joseph's RC Primary school, then went on to Inverness High School, leaving in 1980.
She studied a joint degree in English language and literature at the University of Aberdeen from 1980 to 1985, coming first in her class in 1982 and gaining a top first in Senior Honours English in 1984. She won the University's Bobby Aitken Memorial Prize for poetry in 1984.
From 1985 to 1990 she attended Newham College, Cambridge studying for a PhD in American and Irish modernism. During her time at Cambridge, she began writing plays and as a result did not complete her doctorate.
Smith moved to Edinburgh from Cambridge in 1990 and worked as a lecturer of Scottish, English and American literature at the University of Strathclyde. She left the University in 1992 because she was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. She returned to Cambridge to recuperate.
While studying for her PhD at Cambridge Smith wrote several plays which were staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Cambridge Footlights. After some time working in Scotland, she returned to Cambridge to concentrate on her writing, in particular, focussing on short stories and freelancing as the fiction reviewer for The Scotsman newspaper. In 1995 she published her first book, Free Love and Other Stories, a collection of 12 short stories which won the Saltire First Book of the Year award and Scottish Arts Council Book Award.
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 and Scottish Arts Council Book Award.
- Other Stories and Other Stories (1999)
- The Whole Story and Other Stories (2003)
- The First Person and Other Stories (2008)
- Public Library and Other Stories (2015)
- 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 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.
- Artful (2012), shortlisted for the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize (2013).
- How to Be Both (2014), shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (winner), and the Folio Prize. It was the winner of the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize and of the Novel Award in the 2014 Costa Book Awards.
- Autumn (2016)
- Shire (2013), with images by Sarah Wood: short stories and autobiographical writing. Full Circle Editions.
- Stalemate (1986), unpublished, produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- The Dance (1988), unpublished, produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- Trace of Arc (1989), produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- Amazons (1990), Cambridge Footlights
- Comic (1990), unpublished, produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- The Seer (2001)
- Just (2005)
- 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 2008 she contributed a short story "Writ" to an anthology supporting Save the Children. The anthology is entitled "The Children's Hours" and was published by Arcadia Books. Foreign editions have been published in Portugal, Italy, China and Korea.
- 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'
- 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.
- Ali Smith is also a patron of the Visual Verse online anthology and her piece Untitled, written in response to an image by artist Rupert Jessop, appears in the November 2014 edition.
- On 10 September 2015 Ali Smith was nominated Honorary Fellow by Goldsmiths, University of London.
- In 2011 she contributed a short story "Why Holly Berries are as Red as Roses" to an anthology supporting The Woodland Trust. The anthology - Why Willows Weep - has so far helped The Woodland Trust plant approximately 50,000 trees, and is to be re-released in paperback format in 2016.
Smith lives in Cambridge with her partner filmmaker Sarah Wood.
Awards and honours
- "Best books of 2016 – part two". The Observer. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
She is, of course, Scotland's Nobel laureate-in-waiting
- "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: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. London: Bloomsbury. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4411-5990-8.
- "Smith, Ali 1962–". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
- "Ali Smith - Honorary Award Holders, Anglia Ruskin University". www.anglia.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
- "Ali Smith". guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Limited. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- "The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith". The Short Review. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
- "Ali Smith". Contemporary Writers in the UK. The British Council. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- 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.
- "Girl Meets Boy wins Diva Book Of The Year". The Myths. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- "Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year". Scottish Arts Council. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- "Books of the year 2011 | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- "Jim Crace makes Goldsmiths Prize shortlist". BBC news. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Shortlist 2013". Goldsmiths Prize. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Man Booker Prize: Howard Jacobson makes shortlist". BBC News. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
- Lusher, Adam (3 June 2015). "Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015 winner: Ali Smith triumphs with How to Be Both". The Independent. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "New Statesman | The shortlist for the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize has been announced". New Statesman. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Ali Smith wins Goldsmiths Prize for How to be Both". BBC News. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "Ali Smith". Doollee.com. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
- Ali Smith. "Once upon a life: Ali Smith | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- A Light to Read By, by Leah Hager Cohen, The New York Times, 1 February 2013
- Full text: "Brick: a literary journal" (Number 92, Winter 2014, pp. 9–27); extract online at Brickmag.com.
- "Untitled by Ali Smith". Visualverse.org. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Winterson, Jeanette (25 April 2003). "Ali Smith". The Times. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2014.
- "Order of the Companions of Honour : Members of the Order of the Companions of Honour" (PDF). Gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-11.