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Delve into the writings of critically acclaimed and best-selling author, Zadie Smith. In this issue, A Curated Syllabi features a literary mind-map about a writer that is dedicated to her craft and is a social activist – fighting for libraries!

The curated syllabi is designed for students, faculty, readers, writers and literary gurus to use as a resource to learn more about the writer and if nothing else – motivation. If you are new to Zadie Smith’s work this is an excellent way to get to know more about the writer, explore her literary mind-map, read introductions about her novels, and gain access to online readings and so much more!

We ask librarians to house this in their LibGuide section of their library website. Educators feel free to use the guide in your physical and online courses.

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Published by ART | library deco, 2018-03-25 17:08:48

A Curated Syllabi: Zadie Smith's Literati

Delve into the writings of critically acclaimed and best-selling author, Zadie Smith. In this issue, A Curated Syllabi features a literary mind-map about a writer that is dedicated to her craft and is a social activist – fighting for libraries!

The curated syllabi is designed for students, faculty, readers, writers and literary gurus to use as a resource to learn more about the writer and if nothing else – motivation. If you are new to Zadie Smith’s work this is an excellent way to get to know more about the writer, explore her literary mind-map, read introductions about her novels, and gain access to online readings and so much more!

We ask librarians to house this in their LibGuide section of their library website. Educators feel free to use the guide in your physical and online courses.

Keywords: A Curated Syllabi,Zadie Smith,Fiction,Essays,Social Activist,Libraries

A CURATED SYLLABI

zadie smith's Literati

Research Compiled By kYmberly Keeton, M.L.S.

published by ART | library deco


Zadie Smith’s Literati 

A Curated S lla i 

 

Resea h Compiled B kYm e l Keeton, M.L.S.  ee pu li domain. 

© In init Pu lished B ART | li a de o 
© Book Desi n B ookista media oup 
…A ee od o o k eated o Zadie Smith enthusiasts, s hola s, students, and lite a u us.  
All ima es, te t, and links in the u ated s lla i lists sou es o e e en e and edits. *Ima es a e pu lished in
Zadie Smith’s Lite ati: A Cu ated S lla i, B kYm e l Keeton, M.L.S. is li ensed unde a C eati e Commons 

Att i ution-NonComme ial . Inte national Li ense. 

 
 

  


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

 

 

 

 

 

 

The e eason I ite is so that 

I mi ht not sleep alk th ou h m  

enti e li e.   

 ― ​Zadie Smith

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

 

Ta le o Content 

 

 

❖ Bio aph  
 

❖ Int odu tion to N​ W​, B Zadie Smith 
 

❖ E e pt, N​ W 
 

❖ Illust ation: What Zadie Smith Tau ht Ro ane Ga : Identit Is D a  
 

❖ NW B​ ook Clu Dis ussion Topi s 
 

❖ F ee Essa s to Read Zadie Smith 
 

❖ Zadie Smith s Leaked Cou se S lla i & Des iption 
 

❖ Zadie Smith s Rules o W itin  
 

❖ Zadie Smith | Ca toon | Independent Booksto es 
 

❖ Li a ies: ​The North West London Blues,​ B Zadie Smith 
 

❖ Illust ation: Zadie Smith and Independent Booksto es 
 

❖ Int odu tion to, O​ n Beaut ​, B Zadie Smith 
 

❖ Lite a Menu: O​ n Beaut  

 

❖ Latest Wo ks: Zadie Smith Resou es 
 

❖ Zadie Smith s Bookshel  
 

 

 

 


 

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Autho Bio  ite /zadie-smith 

Sou e: h​ ttps://lite atu e. itish oun il.o /

 

No elist Zadie Smith as orn in North London in to an En lish ather and a 

Jamai an mother. She read En lish at Cam rid e, raduatin in .

He a laimed i st no el, W​ hite Teeth​ , is a i ant po t ait o ontempo a  

multi ultu al London, told th ou h the sto o th ee ethni all di e se amilies. The 

ook on a num e o a a ds 

and p izes, in ludin the 

Guardian​ Fi st Book A a d, the 

Whit ead Fi st No el A a d, 

and the Common ealth W ite s 

P ize O e all Winne , Best 

Fi st Book . It also on t o 

EMMA BT Ethni and 

Multi ultu al Media A a ds o  

Best Book/No el and Best 

Female Media Ne ome , and 

as sho tlisted o the M​ ail on 

Sunda /​ John Lle ell n Rh s 

P ize, the O an e P ize o  

Fi tion and the Autho 's Clu Fi st No el A a d. W​ hite Teeth​ has een t anslated into 

o e t ent lan ua es and as adapted o Channel tele ision o oad ast in 

autumn .

He tenu e as W ite in Residen e at the Institute o Contempo a A ts esulted in the 

pu li ation o an antholo o e oti sto ies entitled P​ ie e o Flesh​ . She also 

ote the int odu tion o T​ he Burned Children o Ameri a​ , a olle tion o  

ei hteen sho t sto ies a ne ene ation o oun Ame i an ite s. Zadie Smith's 

se ond no el, ​The Auto raph Man​ , a sto o loss, o session and the natu e o  


 

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ele it , on the ​Je ish Quarterl ​ Lite a P ize o Fi tion. In she as 

nominated G​ rantam​ a azine as one o 'Best o Youn B itish No elists'.

He thi d no el, O​ n Beaut ​, as pu lished in , and on the O an e P ize o  

Fi tion. She has also itten a non- i tion ook a out itin - F​ ail Better​ ; and 

Chan in M Mind: O asional Essa s​ .

Follo in a ie spell tea hin i tion at Colum ia Uni e sit , Smith joined Ne Yo k 

Uni e sit as a tenu ed p o esso o i tion in . That same ea , The UK's 

Gua dian ne spape asked Smith o he " ules o itin i tion." Amon them, 

she o e ed up this: 

 

Tell the truth throu h hi he er eil omes to hand— ut tell it. Resi n 

oursel to the li elon sadness that omes rom ne er ein satis ied. 

 

Du in , Smith se ed as the Ne Books edito at Ha pe 's ma azine, and in 

, she pu lished NW, he ou th no el, this one set in the Kil u n a ea o  

no th- est London the title e e s to the a ea's postal ode, NW . NW as 

sho tlisted o the Ro al So iet o Lite atu e Ondaatje P ize and the Women s P ize 

o Fi tion. S​ in Time​, Smith's i th no el, as eleased in , a ain to solid 

a laim. The no el, a omin -o -a e sto , ollo s the ate o t o i ls o olo ho 

e ame ast iends th ou h thei mutual lo e o dan e. Pe sonal Li e, Smith met Ni k 

Lai d at Cam id e Uni e sit , and the ouple ma ied in . The ha e t o 

hild en, Kath ine and Ha e , and a e ased in Ne Yo k Cit and Queen's Pa k, 

London. 

 

A a ds and e o nition | ♦ White Teeth : Whit ead Fi st No el A a d, James Tait Bla k Memo ial P ize, Common ealth 

W ite s Fi st Book A a d. ♦ The Auto aph Man : Je ish Qua te l Win ate Lite a P ize ♦ On Beaut : 

Common ealth W ite s Best Book A a d, O an e P ize ♦ NW : sho tlisted o Ondaatje P ize and Women's P ize o  

Fi tion ♦ Gene al: G anta′s Best o Youn B itish No elists, , ; Welt-Lite atu p eis, . 

 


 

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Int odu tion to ​NW -n -smith

Sou e: h​ ttp:// .litlo e s. om/ eadin - uides/ - i tion/

NW  

Zadie Smith,  

Pen uin G oup USA 

pp. 

ISBN- :  

 

 

This is the sto o a it . 

 

The no th est o ne o a 

it . He e ou ll ind uests 

and hosts, those ith po e  

and those ithout it, people 

ho li e some he e spe ial 

and othe s ho li e no he e 

at all. And man people in 

et een. 

 

E e it is like this. 

Cheek- -jo l li in . 

Sepa ate o lds. 

 

And then the e a e the isitations: the a e times a st an e osses a th eshold ithout 

pe mission o a nin , ausin a dis uption in the hole s stem. Like the Ap il 

a te noon a oman ame to Leah Han ell s doo , seekin help, distu in the pea e, 

o in Leah out o he isolation... 

 

Zadie Smith s illiant t a i- omi ne no el ollo s ou Londone s—Leah, Natalie, 

Feli and Nathan—as the t to make adult li es outside o Cald ell, the oun il 

estate o thei hildhood. F om p i ate houses to pu li pa ks, at o k and at pla , 

thei London is a ompli ated pla e, as eauti ul as it is utal, he e the tho ou h a es 

hide the a k alle s and takin the hi h oad an sometimes lead ou to a dead end. 

 

Depi tin the mode n u an zone— amilia to to n-d elle s e e he e—Zadie 

Smith s NW is a uietl de astatin no el o en ounte s, me u ial and ital, like the 

it itsel . F om the pu lishe .  


 

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Read E e pt: 

Sou e: http:// .pen uin. om/stati /pa es/ eatu es/zadie_smith/

 
 
The at sun stalls the phone masts. Anti- lim paint 
tu ns sulphu ous on s hool ates and lampposts. In 
Willesden people o a e oot, the st eets tu n 
Eu opean, the e is a mania o eatin outside. She keeps 
to the shade. Redheaded. On the adio: I am the sole 
autho o the di tiona that de ines me. A ood 
line— ite it out on the a k o a ma azine. In a 
hammo k, in the a den o a asement lat. Fen ed in, 
on all sides. 
 
Fou a dens alon , in the estate, a im i l on the 
thi d loo s eams An lo-Sa on at no od . Juliet 

al on , p oje tin o miles. It ain't like that. Nah it 
ain't like that. Don't ou sta t. Fa in hand. Flesh , 
lo ste - ed. 
 
I am the sole 
 
I am the sole autho  
 
Pen il lea es no ma k on ma azine pa es. Some he e she has ead that the loss i es 

ou an e . E e one kno s it shouldn't e this hot. Sh i eled lossom and itte little 
apples. Bi ds sin in the on tunes in the on t ees too ea l in the ea . Don't 

ou lood sta t! Look up: the i l's u ned paun h ests on the ailin . He e's hat 
Mi hel likes to sa : not e e one an e in ited to the pa t . Not this entu . C uel 
opinion—she doesn't sha e it. In ma ia e not e e thin is sha ed. Yello sun hi h in 
the sk . Blue oss on a hite sti k, lea , de initi e. What to do? Mi hel is at o k. He 
is still at o k. 
 
I am the 
 
the sole 
 


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

Ash d i ts into the a den elo , then omes the utt, then the o . Loude than the 
i ds and the t ains and the t a i . Sole si n o sanit : a tin de i e tu ked in he ea . I 

told im stop takin li e ties. Whe e's m he ue? And she's in m a e hattin eeze. 
Fu kin li e t . 
 
I am the sole. The sole. The sole 
 
She un u ls he ist, lets the pen il oll. Takes he li e t . Nothin else to listen to ut 
this lood i l. At least ith e es losed the e is somethin else to see. Vis ous la k 
spe ks. Da tin ate oatmen, zi -za in . Zi . Za . Red i e ? Molten lake in hell? 
The hammo k tips. The pape s lop to the ound. Wo ld e ents and p ope t and ilm 
and musi lie in the ass. Also spo t and the s​ ho t des iptions o the dead. 

 
  


 

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  Ro ane Ga , The Atlanti , ​Illust ation Dou M Lean 

Illust ation 

rWhat Zadie Smith Tau ht Ro ane Ga : Identit Is D a s,
 
 
 

 


 

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Book Clu Dis ussion Topi s

(From ookra s. om) 

 

Who is the t ue Leah Han ell? Wh do ou think she de ides to not tell Mi hel that 
she is p e nant? Do ou think Leah is 
st u lin ith he se ualit ? What do ou 
think happens to Leah a te Mi hel inds out 
she's een takin i th ont ol pills? 
 
Relationship et een Leah and he mothe : 
Ho does Leah eel a out he mom? Ho  
does he mom eel a out Leah? Ho do 
Leah's eelin s han e a te he athe dies? 
 
Relationship et een Leah and Natalie: A e 
the est iends, a uaintan es o  
somethin else? Is the e t ue ompetition in 
thei elationship? Ho does Leah eel a out 
Natalie? Ho does Natalie eel a out Leah? 
Wh don't the est iends on ide in ea h othe a out thei se et li es? 
 
Relationship et een Natalie and F ank: A e the in lo e o did the ma o othe  
easons?

Zadie Smith s Guides to NW

An inte a ti e tou th ou h the eal- o ld lo ations o Zadie Smith s NW, na ated  
the autho .
https:// hapman hapman. o dp ess. om/ / / /zadie-smiths- uide-to-n /

I ain t in ou d eam Keisha. You e in mine. : Spe t al Communities and Mo e than 
So ial Cons iousness in C London Lite atu e
https://p ezi. om/ o npa k/i-aint-in- ou -d eam-keisha- ou e-in-mine/#

Zadie Smith Quotes, NW

Fa o ite Quote o Zadie Smith s NW
B S​ he s.Got.The.Mi . 


   

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. Jane E e 
 
When ein ullied Keisha Blake ound it use ul to emem e that i ou ead the 
ele ant lite atu e o at hed the pe tinent mo ies ou soon ound that ein ullied 

as p a ti all a si n o a supe io pe sonalit , and the eate the intensit o the 
ull in the mo e likel it as to e a en ed at the othe end o li e, hen ualities o  
the kind Keisha Bla k possessed– le e ness, ill-to-po e – e ame thei o n 
e a d, and that this emained t ue e en i the people in the lite atu e and mo ies 
looked nothin like ou, ame om a di e ent so io-e onomi and histo i al uni e se, 
and– had the e e met ou– ould e likel ha e ensla ed ou, o at est, ullied 
ou to p e isel the same e tent as Lo na Ma kenzie ho had a p o lem ith the a  
ou a ted like ou e e ette than e e one else. – om NW, Zadie Smith 


 

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F ee Essa s to Read Zadie Smith 
 

★ Jo  
 

★ Speakin in Ton ues 

★ Fail Bette   
 
 

★ Gene ation Wh ?

★ Monste s 

 

★ That C a t Feelin  

 

 

★ You A e In Pa adise 

 

★ The Rise o the Essa  

 

★ Dead Man Lau hin  

 

 

★ The House That Ho a Built 

 

★ Shad XLII: Eminem in  

 

★ The Zen o Eminem 

 


 

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Zadie Smith Cou se S lla us 

Source: ​http://www.openculture.com/2013/08/zadie-smith-and-gary-shteyngarts-syllabi-from-columbia-university.html 
Source: ​https://www.villagevoice.com/2009/03/06/zadie-smith-columbia-syllabus-leaks-leaks/ 

 

 
He ull ou se des iption: 
 
What does ha in a sensi ilit , lite a o othe ise, mean? Is it somethin one 
a ui es, somethin innate, o somethin else a ain? We e oin to ead a sele tion o  

e ood th entu no els and one ook o poems on ent atin on hate e is 
most pa ti ula to them, in the hope that this mi ht help us unde stand hate e is 
most pa ti ula to us. The eadin list is lon * and hete o eneous in the hope o  
en ou a in s mpath o a oad an e o lite a sensi ilities e a dless o hat ou  
o n natu al in linations ma e. Students ill i e sho t p esentations, and at the end 
o the ou se ill ite a pie e o i tion, o a pie e o lite a iti ism, o at least i e 
pa es. 
 
The ou se ill e pun tuated se onda eadin s o lite a iti ism and 
philosoph . 
 
* Most o the no els a e sho t. 

 

 
● Brie Inter ie s ith Hideous Men,​ Da id Foste Walla e 
● Catholi s,​ B ian Moo e 
● The Complete Stories,​ F anz Ka ka 
● Crash,​ J.G. Balla d 
● An E periment in Lo e,​ Hila Mantel 
● Modern Criti ism and Theor : A Reader,​ Da id Lod e 
● The S re tape Letters,​ C.S. Le is 
● M Loose Thread,​ Dennis Coope  
● The Prime o Miss Jean Brodie,​ Mu iel Spa k 
● The Loser,​ Thomas Be nha d 
● The Book o Daniel,​ E.L. Do to o  
● A Room ith a Vie ,​ E.M. Fo ste  
● Reader's Blo k,​ Da id Ma kson 
● Pnin,​ Vladimi Na oko  
● The Quiet Ameri an,​ G aham G eene


 

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Zadie Smith s Rules o W itin  

Sou e: h​ ttps:// . ainpi kin s.o /inde .php/ / / /zadie-smith- - ules-o - itin /  this 
 
 
 
 
 

● When still a hild, make su e ou ead a lot o ooks. Spend mo e time doin

than an thin else. 

● When an adult, t to ead ou o n o k as a st an e ould ead it, o e en 

ette , as an enem ould. 

● Don t omanti ise ou o ation. You an eithe ite ood senten es o ou 

an t. The e is no ite s li est le. All that matte s is hat ou lea e on the 

pa e. 

● A oid ou eaknesses. But do this ithout tellin ou sel that the thin s ou 

an t do a en t o th doin . Don t mask sel -dou t ith ontempt. 

● Lea e a de ent spa e o time et een itin somethin and editin it. 

● A oid li ues, an s, oups. The p esen e o a o d on t make ou itin  

an ette than it is. 

● Wo k on a ompute that is dis onne ted om the i​ nte net. 

● P ote t the time and spa e in hi h ou ite. Keep e e od a a om it, 

e en the people ho a e most impo tant to ou. 

● Don t on use honou s ith a hie ement. 

● Tell the t uth th ou h hi he e eil omes to hand — ut tell it. Resi n 

ou sel to the li elon sadness that omes om ne e ​ ein satis ied. 

  


 

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ILLUSTRATIONS  ,  

Zadie Smith on the Essential Se i es o Independent Booksto es, B NATHAN GELGUD | Fe ua
Sou e: Zadie Smith illust ations © Nathan Gel ud


 

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Well- un li a ies a e illed ith 

people e ause hat a ood li a  

o e s annot e easil ound 

else he e: an indoo pu li spa e 

in hi h ou do not ha e to u  

an thin in o de to sta .   

   

 ― Z​ adie Smith


 

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The No th West London Blues 

Zadie Smith | June ,  

Sou e: https:// .n ooks. om/dail / / / /no th- est-london- lues/ 

 

 

 

 

An d a in o Willesden G een Li a | Ima e Cou tes o the No th est Vi to ian So iet  

 

 

Last time I as in Willesden G een I took m dau hte to isit m mothe . The sun as 

out. We ande ed do n B ondes u Pa k to a ds the hi h oad. The F en h 

Ma ket as on, hi h is a sli htl imp o a le ma ket o F en h thin s sold in the 

on ete spa e et een the p ett tu eted emnants o Willesden Li a and 

the utal ed i k ea hed uise ship kno n as Willesden G een Li a Cent e 

, a su stantial lo al landma k that a ks up nea l i e hund ed thousand isits a 

ea . We alked in the sun do n the u an st eet to the on ete spa e—to ma ket. 

This asn t like alkin a shad ount lane in a uaint ma ket to n endin up in a 

pe e tl p ese ed ei hteenth- entu s ua e. It as not e en like oin to one o  

these Fa me s Ma kets that ha e sp un up all o e London at the oss oads he e 

pe sonal ealth meets a st on inte est in a tisanal heeses. 

 


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

But it as still e ni e. Willesden F en h Ma ket sells heap a s. It sells CDs o old 

time jazz and o k n oll. It sells um ellas and a ti i ial lo e s. It sells o naments 

and kni k-kna ks and doo dahs, hi h a e not al a s o iousl F en h in theme o  

natu e. It sells ate pistols. It sells F en h eads and past ies o not mu h mo e 

than ou d pa o the aked oods in G e s do n Kil u n Hi h Road. It sells heese, 

ut o the de entl p i ed and easil e o niza le kind— ie, oat s, lue—as i the 

ma ket has t a eled un han ed a oss the hannel om some un-do n u an su u  

o Pa is. Whi h it ma ha e done o all I kno . 

 

The ke thin a out Willesden s F en h Ma ket is that it a entuates and ele ates 

this on ete spa e in ont o Willesden G een Li a Cent e, hi h is at all times a 

meetin pla e, thou h ne e uite so mu h as it is on ma ket da . E e od s just 

standin a ound, talkin , u in o not u in heese, as the mood takes them. It s 

eall pleasant. You ould almost o et Willesden Hi h Road as ten a ds a a . 

This matte s. When ou e standin in the ma ket ou e not oin to o k, ou e not 

oin to s hool, ou e not aitin o a us. You e not headin o the tu e o  

shoppin o ne essities. You e not on the hi h oad he e all these a ti ities take 

pla e. You e just a little it o it, han in out, in an open ai u an a ea, hi h is 

hat these u an hi h st eets ha e spe i i all e ol ed to stop people doin . 

 

E e od kno s that i people han a ound o an len th o time in an u an a ea 

ithout pu pose the a e likel to e ome anti-so ial. And indeed the e e e ou  

homeless d unks sittin on one o the li a s st an e a hite tu al p ot usions, 

d inkin Spe ial B e . Pe haps in a illa e the ould e sittin unde a t ee, o ha e 

al ead een d i en om the a ea a a me ith a pit h o k. I do not laim to kno  

hat happens in illa es. But he e in Willesden the e e sat on thei led e and the 

est o us e e on e atin o no use ul pu pose in the unlo el on ete spa e, 

simpl standin a ound in the sunshine, like some kind o ommunit . F om this 

anta e point e ould look ahead to the tu ets, o le t to the Vi to ian poli e station 

, o i ht to the hal - hostl açade o the Spotted Do . 

 

We ould ha e a minimal sense o ontinuit ith hat ame e o e. Not so mu h as 

the people o Hampstead must ha e, to e su e, o the olk ho li e in p ett ma ket 

to ns all o e the ount , ut he e and the e in Willesden the past lin e s on. We e 

lad that it does. Whi h is not to sa that e a e o e l nostal i a out a hite tu e 

look at the li a ! ut e ind it pleasant to emem e that e ha e as mu h i ht to 

a lo al histo as an one, e en i man o us a i ed he e onl e entl and om e e  

o ne o the lo e. 

 


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

On ma ket da e pe mit ou sel es the eelin that ou nei h o hood, o all its 

atholi mi o people and a hite tu e, emains a pla e o some eaut that dese es 

minimal p ese ation and a e. It s a ni e da out, is m point. Still, the e s onl so lon  

a toddle ill stand a ound at hin he andmothe eet all the man people in 

Willesden he andmothe kno s. M dau hte and I took a tu n. You an t eall  

take a tu n in the hi h oad so e ent a k a ds, into the li a ent e. Ne essa il  

a k a d in time, thou h I didn t— ouldn t— o e m dau hte ith m memo ies: she 

is still oun and elo nostal ia s ea h. Instead I ill o e ou. Studied in the e, at 

that desk. Met a o o e the e, he e the phone o es used to e. Went, ith s hool 

iends, in the e, to see The Piano and S hindle s List inema no de un t and 

a te a d e ent in the e, o o ee a é no de un t and had an a tual a ument 

a out a t, an ea l inklin that the e mi ht e a di e en e et een a ilm ith ood 

intentions and a ood ilm. 

 

Mean hile m dau hte is unnin madl th ou h the ent e s esplanade, ith anothe  

toddle ho has the same idea. And then she e e ses di e tion and heads st ai ht o  

Willesden G een Book Shop, an independent shop that ents spa e om the oun il and 

p o ides—no matte hat B ent Coun il, the lo al o e nment o the London o ou h 

o B ent, ma laim—an essential lo al se i e. It is un Helen. Helen is an essential 

lo al pe son. I ould ha a te ize he essentialness in the ollo in a : Gi in the 

people hat the didn t kno the anted. Impo tant ate o . Di e ent om the 

on ept popula ized M Mu do h: i in the people hat the ant. E e one is  

no amilia ith the Di t Di e s e sion o the so ial ood— e e had thi t ea s 

o it. Helen s e sion is di e ent and ne essa il pe pet ated on a a smalle s ale. 

 

Helen i es the people o Willesden hat the didn t kno the anted. Sma t ooks, 

st an e ooks, ooks a out the ount the ame om, o the one that the e in. 

Child en s ooks ith hild en in them that look at least a it like the hild en ho a e 

eadin them. Radi al ooks. Classi al ooks. Wei d ooks. Popula ooks. She eads a 

lot, she has e ommendations. Hope ull , ou ha e a Helen in a ookshop nea ou and 

so unde stand hat I m talkin a out. In I didn t kno I anted to ead Da id 

Mit hell until Helen pointed me to Ghost itten. And I ha e a st on memo o u in  

a ook Sa t e he e, e ause it as on the shel and I sa it. I don t kno ho I 

ould ha e kno n I anted Sa t e ithout seein it on that shel —that is, ithout 

Helen puttin it the e. Yea s late , I had m ook laun h in this ookshop and hen it 

ot too ull, mainl ith lo al iends o m mothe , e all alked up the oad to he  

lat and a ied on o e the e. 

 

And it as hile ettin e nostal i a out all this so t o thin ith Helen, and 


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

onde in a out the possi ilit o ha in anothe laun h in the same spot, that I i st 
hea d o the oun il s intention to demolish the li a ent e alon ith the ookshop 
and the nineteenth- entu tu ets and the on ete spa e and the led e on hi h the 
ou d unks sat. To e epla ed ith p i ate lu u lats, a eatl edu ed li a , 

etail spa e and no ookshop. Ste e, the o ne , ould not a o d the omme ial ise 
in ent. The same thin happened to his Kil u n Bookshop, hi h losed e entl a te  
thi t ea s. M mum ande ed in, ith some heese. The th ee o us lamented this 
han e and the ultu al andalism e elt it ep esented. O , i ou take the opposite 

ie , e stood a ound pointlessl , like the Luddite, is all i no ant li e als e a e, 
omplainin a out the ine ita le. 
 
A e da s late I ot a k on a plane to Ne Yo k, he e I tea h o a pa t o ea h 
ea . Lo i all it should e easie , hen a pe son is a a a om home, to take ad 
ne s om home on the hin, ut an one ho has spent time in a ommunit o e -pats 
kno s the e a t opposite is t ue: no-one ould e mo e in u iated e ents in Rome 
than the Italian kid se in ou appu ino on B oad a . Without the alan in  
onte t o e e da li e all ou ha e is the ne s, and ne s its natu e is ene all  
ad. Qui kl ou e ome h ste i al. Conse uentl I an t tell hethe the ne s omin  
out o m home is eall as ad as it appea s to e, o hethe o je ts pe ei ed om 
th ee thousand miles a a a e su je t to e a e ations o size and olo . Did a 
La ou - un oun il eall send hea ies into Kensal Rise Li a , in a da n aid, to 
st ip the pla e o ooks and Ma k T ain s all pla ue? A e the people o Willesden 
G een se iousl to lose thei ookshop, e o e ed a smalle li a o use mo e 
pat ons om othe li a ies B ent has losed , an u l lo k o lu u lats— and told 
that this is ultu e? Yes. That s all eall happenin . With minimal onsultation, 
ith ull - o ta ti s, se e and a little out i ht de eit. No dou t Coun illo Mo Butt 
the oun il has losed inds himsel in a di i ult position: the pe enta e uts in B ent 
a e amon the hi hest in the ount , mandated ent al o e nment. But the h oni  
mismana ement o inan es is easil t a ed a k to the p e ious La ou o e nment, 
and so ound and ound oes the aton o lame. The Willesden G een plan as it stands 
so o iousl i es the de elope s an e t emel p o ita le land deal— hile e emptin  
them om the need to uild so ial housin —that ou eel a it like a hild pointin out. 
In this e onom ho ut a hild ould e pe t an thin else? 
 
Readin these intensel lo al sto ies alon side the national sto eates anothe e e t 
that ma e onl anothe kind o opti al illusion: mi o in . Fo he e in the Le eson 
In ui into the ethi s o the B itish p ess ou ind all the same t aits displa ed, onl  

it la e. Minimal onsultation, ull - o ta ti s, se e , out i ht de eit. A e some o  
the la est de isions o B itish politi al li e eall ein made at the p i ate dinne  


 

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ta les o a tin elite? Wh is Je em Hunt, the se eta o state o ultu e, 
Ol mpi s, media, and spo t, te tin Mu do h? What did Re ekah p omise the P ime 
Ministe and the P ime Ministe p omise Re ekah in that p ett little ma ket to n o  
Chippin No ton? Du in anothe pe iod o e -pat e isten e, in Ital , I sat at a Roman 
a é ta le in a Renaissan e s ua e ollin m e es at the soap ope a o Italian politi al 
li e: i e-tapped politi ians and oot alle s and TV sta s, a k oom media deals, 

la in on li ts o inte est, ta loid ultu e un iot, politi ians in the po kets o  
ne spape s. I used to hu kle o e la Repu li a and tease m Italian iends a out the 
kind o p o lems e didn t ha e in ou asi all sound B itish pa liamenta  
demo a . 
 
And so I e o nize m sel to e an intensel naï e pe son. Most no elists a e, despite 

e uent p etensions to deep so io-politi al insi ht. And I etain a pa ti ula nai et  
on e nin the B itish state, hi h must seem omi al to man people, pa ti ula l  
oun e people. I an onl eall a ount o it ea hin a k a ain, ie l , into the 
past. It s a sho t sto a out de t— e ause I o e the state, uite a lot. Some people 
o e e e thin the ha e to the ank a ounts o thei pa ents. I o e the state. Put 
simpl , the state edu ated me, i ed m le hen it as oken, and a e me a ant 
that ena led me to o to uni e sit . It i ed m teeth a it and ound housin o m  
ete an athe in his dota e. When m oun est othe as un o e a t u k it 
sa ed his li e and in pa ti ula his ushed i ht hand, a p o edu e that took hal a 
ea , and hi h ould, on the open ma ket—so a do to told me at the time—ha e ost 
a million pounds. Those e e the i thin s, ut the e e e also plent o little ones: 
m su sidized spo ts ent e and m do to s o i e, m s hool musi lessons paid o  
ith pennies, m uni e sit ees. M NHS lasses a ed . M NHS a a ed . And 
m lo al li a . To steal anothe ite s title: En land made me. It has ne e een 
ha d o me to pa m ta es e ause I unde stand it to e the epa in o a la e, in 
a t, an almost in al ula le, de t. 
 
Thin s han e. I don t need the state no as I on e did; and the state is not hat it 
on e as. It is ompli it in this ne , sha ed lo al ealit in hi h states de e ulate to 
p i atize ain and e- e ulate to nationalize loss. A p o ess e un ith e e a 
La ou o e nment is p esentl ein pe e ted Came on s To -Li Dem oalition. 
The ha min tale o eni n state inte ention des i ed a o e is no ele ated to the 
land o ai tales: not just naï e ut a tuall antasti . Ha in one s o n histo so 
suddenl and a uptl made un eal is an e pe ien e o a hole ene ation o B itish 
people, ho must no ande a ound like so man an ient ma ine s o in o ei ne s 
a out ho the ent to uni e sit o ee and ould on e ind a National Health 
dentist on thei hi h st eet. I o e m sel tellin these sto ies. And the thin that is 


 

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most o in a out de endin li a ies is the imputation that an a ument in de ense o  
li a ies is ne essa il a so ial-li e al a ument. It s onl e entl that I had an idea 
that ho a pe son elt a out li a ies—not s hools o hospitals, li a ies— ould e en 
ep esent an ideolo i al split. I thou ht a li a as one o the e sites he e the 
u e to onse e and the desi e to imp o e—t in poles o ou politi al mind— e e 
easil and natu all united. Besides, hat kind o li e al has no pa t le t to ote o , 
and eels not so mu h atitude to the state as antipath and, at times, ea ? 
 
The losest I an ind m sel to an alle ian e o a politi al impe ati e these da s is the 
one e p essed that old so ial demo at Ton Judt: We need to lea n to think the 
state a ain. Fi st and o emost I need to e ome less naï e. The mone is one, and 
the onditions Judt s ene ation inhe ited and m ene ation inhe ited om Judt s a e 
unlikel to e epli ated in m li etime, i e e a ain. That s the ad ne s om home. 
Politi all all a so ial li e al has le t is the a ilit to emind he sel that atalism is onl  
anothe kind o t ap, and the e is mo e than one a to e naï e. Judt a ain: We ha e 

eed ou sel es o the mid-t entieth entu assumption—ne e uni e sal ut e tainl  
idesp ead—that the state is likel to e the est solution to an i en p o lem. We 
no need to li e ate ou sel es om the opposite notion: that the state is— de inition 
and al a s—the o st possi le option.  
 
What kind o a p o lem is a li a ? It s lea that o man people it is not a p o lem 
at all, onl a kind o o soles en e. At the e t eme pole o this ie is the te hno at s 
total aith: ith e e ook in the o ld online, hat need ould the e e o the 
ph si al ealit ? This kind o a ument thinks o the li a as a un tion athe than a 
plu alit o indi idual spa es. But ea h li a is a di e ent kind o p o lem and the 
Inte net is no mo e a solution o all o them than it is thei uni e sal death knell. 
Ea h mo nin I st u le to ind a seat in the pa ked uni e sit li a in hi h I ite 
this, despite the a t e e sin le student in he e ould e at home in ont o thei  
ma ook o sin Goo le Books. And Kil u n Li a —also un B ent Coun il ut 
situated, despite its name, in a luent Queen s Pa k—is not onl th i in ut losed o  
e u ishment. Kensal Rise is ein losed not e ause it is unpopula ut e ause it is 
unp o ita le, this despite the a t that the iends o Kensal Rise li a a e illin to 
un thei li a themsel es i All Souls Colle e, O o d, hi h o ns the li a , ill 
let them. Mean hile it is ha d not to on lude that Willesden G een is ein mutilated 
not least e ause the mem e s o the oun il see the oppo tunit o a s eet eal estate 
deal. 
 
All li a ies ha e a di e ent ha a te and settin . Some a e p ima il o hild en o  
p ima il o students, o the ene al pu li , p ima il ull o ooks o mi o ilms o  


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

di itized mate ial o ith a a é in the asement o a ma ket out ont. Li a ies a e not 
ailin e ause the a e li a ies. Ne le ted li a ies et ne le ted, and this le, in 
time, p o ides the e use to lose them. Well- un li a ies a e illed ith people 
e ause hat a ood li a o e s annot e easil ound else he e: an indoo pu li  
spa e in hi h ou do not ha e to u an thin in o de to sta . 
 
In the mode n state the e a e e e sites he e this is possi le. The onl othe s that 
ome eadil to m mind e ui e elie in an omnipotent eato as a ondition o  
mem e ship. It ould seem the most o ious thin in the o ld to sa that the eason 
h the ma ket is not an e i ient solution to li a ies is e ause the ma ket has no use 
o a li a . But it seems e need, i ht no , to keep e-statin the o ious. The e 
a en t man institutions le t that it so p e isel Ke nes s de inition o thin s that no 
one else ut the state is illin to take on. No an the e pe ien e o li a li e e 
e eated online. It s not just a matte o ee ooks. A li a is a di e ent kind o  
so ial ealit o the th ee dimensional kind , hi h its e e isten e tea hes a 
s stem o alues e ond the is al. 
 
I don t think the a ument in a o o li a ies is espe iall ideolo i al o ethi al. I 
ould e en a ee ith those ho sa it s not espe iall lo i al. I think o most people 
it s emotional. Not lo os o ethos ut pathos. This is not a deni ation: emotion also has 
a pla e in pu li poli . We e humans, not o ots. The people p otestin the losin o  
Kensal Rise Li a lo e that li a . The e e open to an solution on the le t o on 
the i ht i it meant keepin thei li a open. The e e ead to Bi So iet the hell 
out o that pla e. A li a is one o those so ial oods that matte to people o man  
di e ent politi al attitudes. All that the iends o Kensal Rise and Willesden Li a  
and simila se i es th ou hout the ount a e sa in is: these pla es a e impo tant to 
us. We et that mone is ti ht, e unde stand that the e is a hie a h o needs, and 
that the F en h Ma ket o a Ma k T ain pla ue a e not hospital eds and lass oom 
size. But the a e still a si ni i ant pa t o ou so ial ealit , the onl thin le t on the 
hi h st eet that doesn t ant eithe ou soul o ou allet. 
 
I the losses o p i ate ompanies a e to e so ialized ithin al ead st u lin  
ommunities the e least e an do is listen to people hen the t to tell us he e 
in the hie a h o thei needs thin s like pu li spa e, a ess to ultu e, and 
p ese ation o en i onment lie. But I ne e use the damn thin s! sa s M . 
Notm ta es, unde the line. Si , I elie e ou. Ho e e . B itish li a ies e ei ed o e  

million isits last ea , and this despite the ommon ne le t o the a ious oun ils 
that o e see them. In No th West London people a e e en illin to o m human hains 
in ont o them. People ha e taken to itin lon pie es in ne spape s to de end  


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

them. Just sa in the same thin o e and o e a ain. De end ou li a ies. We like 

li a ies. Can e keep ou li a ies? We need to talk a out li a ies. Pleadin , like 

hild en. Is that eall he e e a e?   


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

 

 
 

  


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

Int odu tion to ​On Beaut

Sou e: h​ ttp:// .litlo e s. om/ eadin - uides/ - i tion/ -on- eaut -smith 

 

On Beaut   

Zadie Smith,  

Pen uin G oup USA 

pp. 

ISBN- :  

 

 

Summa  

 

Ho a d Belse , a Rem andt s hola ho doesn't like 

Rem andt, is an En lishman a oad and a 

lon -su e in p o esso at Wellin ton, a li e al Ne  

En land a ts olle e. He has een ma ied o thi t  

ea s to Kiki, an Ame i an oman ho no lon e  

esem les the se a ti ist she on e as. Thei th ee 

hild en passionatel pu sue thei o n paths: Le i 

uests a te authenti la kness, Zo a elie es that 

intelle tuals an edeem e e od , and Je ome 

st u les to e a elie e in a amil o st i t atheists. 

Fa ed ith the opp essi e enthusiasms o his hild en, 

Ho a d eels that the i st t o a ts o his li e a e o e  

and he has no lea plans o the inale. O the en o e. 

 

Then Je ome, Ho a d's olde son, alls o Vi to ia, the stunnin dau hte o the 

i ht- in i on Mont Kipps, and the t o amilies ind themsel es th o n to ethe in a 

eauti ul o ne o Ame i a, ena tin a ultu al and pe sonal a a ainst the 

a k ound o eal a s that the a el e iste . An in idelit , a death, and a le a  

set in motion a hain o e ents that sees all pa ties o ed to e amine the una ti ulated 

assumptions hi h unde pin thei li es. Ho do ou hoose the o k on hi h to spend 

ou li e? Wh do ou lo e the people ou lo e? Do ou eall elie e hat ou laim 

to? And hat is the eauti ul thin , and ho a ill ou o to et it? 

 

Set on oth sides o the Atlanti , Zadie Smith's thi d no el is a illiant anal sis o  

amil li e, the institution o ma ia e, inte se tions o the pe sonal and politi al, and 

an honest look at people's de eptions. It is also, as ou mi ht e pe t, e unn indeed. 

F om the pu lishe .    


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

 

Zadie Smith s On Beaut Quotes 

Sou e: h​ ttps:// . ood eads. om/ o k/ uotes/ -on- eaut  
Illust ation Olimpia Za noli, The Ne Yo ke  

 

6An oman ho ounts on her a e is a 

ool.7 

 

6Ri ht. I look ine. E ept I don’t,’ said 

Zora, tu in sadl at her man’s 

ni htshirt. This as h Kiki had 

dreaded ha in irls: she kne she 

ouldn’t e a le to prote t them rom 

sel -dis ust. To that end she had tried 
annin tele ision in the earl ears, and 

ne er had a lipsti k or a oman’s 

ma azine rossed the threshold o the 

Belse home to Kiki’s kno led e, ut 

these and other pre autionar measures 

had made no di eren e. It as in the air, 

or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred o  

omen and their odies– it seeped in ith 

e er drau ht in the house; people rou ht 

it home on their shoes, the reathed it in 

o their ne spapers. There as no a to 

ontrol it.7 

 

6Art is the Western m th, ith hi h e 

oth onsole oursel es and make 

oursel es.7 

 

6The uture's another ountr , man... And I still ain't ot a passport. 7 
 

6Stop orr in a out our identit and on ern oursel ith the people ou are a out, 

ideas that matter to ou, elie s ou an stand , ti kets ou an run on. Intelli ent 

humans make those hoi es ith their rain and hearts and the make them alone. The 

orld does not deli er meanin to ou. You ha e to make it meanin ul...and de ide hat 

ou ant and need and must do. It’s a tou h, unima ina l lonel and ompli ated a to 


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

e in the orld. But that’s the deal: ou ha e to li e; ou an’t li e slo ans, dead ideas, 

li hés, or national la s. Findin an identit is eas . It’s the eas a out.7 

 

6She represents lo e, eaut , purit , the ideal emale and the moon...and she's the m stère 

o jealous , en ean e and dis ord, AND, on the other hand, o lo e, perpetual help, 

ood ill, health, eaut and ortune.7 

 

6Oh, I kno that. You kno me, a , I annot e roken. Takes a iant to snap me in 

hal .7  

 

6This is hat a oman is: unadorned, a ter hildren and ork and a e, and 

e perien e-these are the marks o li in .7 

 

6It's eas to on use a oman or a philosoph 7   


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

 

Lite a Menu: ​On Beaut  

 

● On Beaut Reade s Guide 
 

● Read: On Beaut | F ee E e pt 
 

● Maste s Thesis: Onl Conne t?: Aspe ts o Inte te tualit in Zadie Smith s On 
Beaut  

 
● A ti le: Ho Ma a et At ood and Zadie Smith Use Te hnolo : An E e pt 
F om P o ess: The W itin Li es o G eat Autho s  

 
● Jou nal A ti le: : On Le tu in and Bein Beauti ul: Zadie Smith, Elaine S a , 
and the Li e al Aestheti  

  


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

Latest Wo ks: Zadie Smith Ne Resou es    

   

E e pt F om Pen uin Books   
 

S in Time​ is told om the i st pe son pe spe ti e o an unnamed 
na ato . The no el is di ided into se en se tions and alte nates 

et een t o ou h time pe iods: the na ato s hildhood and 
adoles en e in No th est London and he adulthood o kin o a 
pop sta named Aimee, takin e uent t ips to A i a to assist 

ith Aimee s ha it p oje t. The no el o uses on the elationship 
et een the na ato and he hildhood iend T a e , a talented 
dan e ho e entuall des ends into po e t . 
 

Read P e ie : S​ in Time​, Goo le Books 
 
Vie Online: A t ess Ruth Ne a, eads the i st S​ in Time​ hapte , 
Vo ue Ma azine 
 

 

E e pt F om Pen uin Books  
 

In he ide- an in ne olle tion, Zadie Smith s sha p e e da ts 
om so ial media to Ella Fitz e ald, om the En lish seasons to 

P in e s dan in . A an ed into i e se tions–In the Wo ld, In 
the Audien e, In the Galle , On the Bookshel , and Feel 
F ee–this ne olle tion poses uestions e immediatel  
e o nize. What is The So ial Net o k–and Fa e ook 
itsel – eall a out? It s a uel po t ait o us: million 
sentient people ent apped in the e ent a eless thou hts o a 
Ha a d sophomo e. Wh do e lo e li a ies? Well- un 
li a ies a e illed ith people e ause hat a ood li a o e s 
annot e easil ound else he e: an indoo pu li spa e in hi h 

ou do not ha e to u an thin in o de to sta . What ill e 
tell ou anddau hte s a out ou olle ti e ailu e to add ess 

lo al a min ? 

Read P e ie : Feel F ee Essa s, Goo le Books 
 
Essa F om Colle tion: Listen to Zadie Smith Read 6​ Es ape rom Ne York7,​ Sound loud 


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

Zadie Smith s Bookshel  
 
 
 
 

 

  


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

Sou e: I​ LLUSTRATION BY DAVIDE BARONI 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

  


 

ZSL A Curated S lla i  

 
 

When I ite I am t in to e p ess m  
a o ein in the o ld. This is p ima il  
a p o ess o elimination: on e ou ha e 

emo ed all the dead lan ua e, the 
se ond-hand do ma, the t uths that a e not 
ou o n ut othe people's, the mottos, the 
slo ans, the out-and-out lies o ou nation, 
the m ths o ou histo i al moment - on e 
ou ha e emo ed all that a ps e pe ien e 

into a shape ou do not e o nise and do 
not elie e in - hat ou a e le t ith is 
somethin app o imatin the t uth o ou  

o n on eption.   
 

 ― Z​ adie Smith
 


no. 1 | Spring 2018

A curated Syllabi

Featuring Zadie Smith's Literati

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