Dinitia Smith

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Dinitia Smith
Born (1945-12-26) December 26, 1945 (age 76)
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, is forthcoming in March 2022 from Arcade Publishing. A modern retelling of Henry James's The Golden Bowl, The Prince is described as "elegant and compelling" by novelist Hilma Wolitzer. Author Jay Parini writes, "The Prince gently but relentlessly furls us in the shimmering world of New York high society, conjuring Henry James in a brilliant way... One is left wishing for more and more."[17]

Smith has taught at Columbia University and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Smith has been married to historian and author David Nasaw since 1978. It is a second marriage for both.[19] They have two sons.[20][21]


  • 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. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Passing-Quietly-Through - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes - NYTimes.com". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  4. ^ "Somerset Daily American". Retrieved 6 Nov 2015.
  5. ^ McAllister, Gwyn. "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. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Dinita Smith Leaves Full-Time Post at NYT". GalleyCat. 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. ^ "The Prince". Arcade Publishing. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  18. ^ "Faculty Details: Dinitia Smtih". Art Workshop International. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Dinitia Smith Is Married To David Nasaw, Teacher". The New York Times. June 11, 1978. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  20. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths. Nasaw, Beatrice". The New York Times. January 18, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  21. ^ "Layla Moughari, Daniel Nasaw". New York Times. August 31, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2021.