Zadie Smith, interview with Jeffery Eugenidies

I saw Zadie Smith read from the manuscript for her new novel, Swing Time, around this time last year. I’ve been savoring that experience in anticipation of getting to read the whole thing. The novel isn’t out until next month, but this interview with Jeffery Eugenidies should whet your appetite. Really just read the whole interview, but two key quotes:

1) Smith on being a woman writer: 

And then Zadie says something I don’t expect, something much more surprising than her previous admission: “It did seem to me, when I was a kid and also now that I’m a grown-up writer, that a lot of male writers have a certainty that I have never been able to have. I kept on thinking I would grow into it, but I’m never sure I’m doing the right thing.”

2) Smith on identity:

“I suppose the phrase is quite popular at the moment — check your privilege,” she says. “I don’t think there’s anybody on earth for whom that isn’t true. There is no unimpeachable identity from which you can operate in the world from a position of righteousness at all times. Sometimes, at a certain moment in history, people have decided that you are close to that figure. How tempting it must be to grab it with both hands and be that person, the unimpeachable moral person of rightness and rectitude. But you know it’s an illusion.”


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