Dinitia Smith

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Dinitia Smith
Born (1945-12-26) December 26, 1945 (age 78)
Other namesDinitia McCarthy
  • Author
  • filmmaker
Years active1971–present
(m. 1978)

Dinitia Smith (born December 26, 1945) is an American author and filmmaker.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Cumberland, Maryland, and raised primarily in Great Britain, where her father was a journalist. She came to the United States in 1959, and lived in New York City and Westchester. After graduating from Smith College,[1] she worked as a reporter for the Associated Press in New York.[2] She enrolled in the New York University Film School, and in 1971 obtained a Masters of Fine Arts.


In 1971, she wrote and directed her first film, Passing Quietly Through, under her then-married name McCarthy.[3] That film was one of the first films by a woman to be chosen for the New York Film Festival. Smith continued to make documentaries, including some with American documentary filmmaker, David Grubin,[4] and also wrote several screenplays.[5] Her films have been shown at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.[6]

In 1975, Smith won an Emmy Award for a film she made for WNBC–TV.[7] She published her first novel, The Hard Rain, in 1980. Her second novel, Remember This, won her fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts[8] and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.[9] Her short fiction has been published in numerous literary journals.[10][11]

Smith was also a contributing editor at New York magazine;[12] from 1995 to 2006 she worked for The New York Times, where she wrote about arts and intellectual trends and ideas.[13] Her third novel, The Illusionist, published in 1997, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.[14]

The Honeymoon, her biographical novel about the 19th century writer George Eliot, was published in 2016. The New York Times wrote that "Smith's enchanting account humanizes a figure renowned as much for her refutation of conventional female stereotypes and social limitations as for her genius for story and language".[15] A reviewer for The Washington Post called the book "the perfect example of when fictional storytelling about an eminent person is warranted".[16]

Smith's fifth novel, The Prince, (Arcade Publishing, 2022) is a contemporary retelling of Henry James's The Golden Bowl. NPR called The Prince "a winner …a compelling story of sexual obsession and the expectations and tolerances of society.”[17] Novelist Lee Child wrote The Prince is “Beautiful, elegant and delicate.”[18] The National Book Review called the novel "deliciously satisfying."[19]

Smith has taught at Columbia University and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Smith has been married to historian and author David Nasaw since 1978. It is a second marriage for both.[21] They have two sons.[22][23]


  • The Hard Rain, Dial Press (1980) ISBN 9780803734098
  • Remember This, Henry Holt & Co (1989) ISBN 9780805010367
  • The Illusionist, Scribner (1997) ISBN 9780684843292
  • The Honeymoon, Other Press (2016) ISBN 9781590517789
  • The Prince, Arcade Publishing (March 2022) ISBN 9781950994199


  1. ^ "Smith College: NewsSmith". www.smith.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  2. ^ "The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, MD". Newspapers.com. 10 January 1968. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Passing-Quietly-Through - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes - NYTimes.com". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  4. ^ "Somerset Daily American". Retrieved 6 Nov 2015.
  5. ^ McAllister, Gwyn (15 August 2013). "Homosexual witch hunt the subject of a new play". Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  6. ^ "Art Workshop International". Archived from the original on 2016-08-22. Retrieved 6 Nov 2015.
  7. ^ "18th Annual New York Emmy Awards Winners". New York Emmy Awards. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Dinitia Smith". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Dinitia Smith". Creative Writing Program. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Magic". www.hudsonreview.com. Retrieved 6 Nov 2015.
  11. ^ "Valentine's Day". www.nereview.com. Retrieved 6 Nov 2015.
  12. ^ "Dinitia Smith, "The Puritans"". New York Magazine. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Dinita Smith Leaves Full-Time Post at NYT". GalleyCat. 21 December 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Notable Books of the Year 1997". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  15. ^ Christensen, Lauren (2016-06-17). "Writers' Lives Reimagined". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  16. ^ Rioux, Anne Boyd; Rioux, Anne Boyd (2016-05-05). "George Eliot's brief marriage got off to a really, really bad start". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  17. ^ "Book Review: The Prince". WSHU. 2022-02-10. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  18. ^ Smith, Dinitia (2022-03-01). The Prince. New York, NY: Arcade. ISBN 978-1-950994-19-9.
  19. ^ Cohen, Adam (2022-03-07). "5 HOT BOOKS: Reimagining Chronic Illness, the Sandy Hook Tragedy, and More". The National Book Review. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  20. ^ "Faculty Details: Dinitia Smtih". Art Workshop International. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Dinitia Smith Is Married To David Nasaw, Teacher". The New York Times. June 11, 1978. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  22. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths. Nasaw, Beatrice". The New York Times. January 18, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  23. ^ "Layla Moughari, Daniel Nasaw". New York Times. August 31, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2021.