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Profile created January 14, 2008
Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis (2007
US) -- Winner of Diva
Magazine readers’ choice Book of the Year
Girl meets boy. It’s a story as old as
time. But in Whitbread winner Ali Smith’s lyrical, funny, mash-up of
Ovid’s most joyful gender-bending metamorphosis story, girl meets boy in
so many more ways than one.
Imogen and Anthea, sisters that are opposites, work together at Pure, a
creative agency attempting to “bottle imagination, politics, and nature”
in the form of a new Scottish bottled-water business with global
aspirations. Anthea, somewhat flighty and bored with the office
environment, becomes enamored of an “interventionist protest artist”
nicknamed Iphisol, whose billboard-size corporate slurs around town are
the bane of Pure’s existence. And when Anthea and Iphisol meet, it’s a
match made in heaven.
Girl Meets Boy is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and
transformation, the absurdity of consumerism, as well as a story of
reversals and revelations that’s as sharply witty as it is lyrical. Funny,
fresh, poetic, and political, Girl Meets Boy is a myth of
metamorphosis for a world made in Madison Avenue’s image, and the funniest
addition to The Myths series from Canongate since The Penelopiad by
The Reader: Ali Smith (2006
First of a series of anthologies of favorite
writings chosen by writers.
The Accidental (2004; 2006,
US) -- Winner 2005
Whitbread Novel of the Year award
Amber—thirty something and barefoot—shows up at the
door of the Norfolk cottage that the Smarts are renting for the summer.
She talks her way in. She tells nothing but lies. She stays for dinner.
Eve Smart, the author of a best-selling series of biographical
reconstructions, thinks Amber is a student with whom her husband, Michael,
is sleeping. Michael, an English professor, knows only that her car broke
down. Daughter Astrid, age twelve, thinks she’s her mother’s friend. Son
Magnus, age seventeen, thinks she’s an angel.
As Amber insinuates herself into the family, the questions of who she is
and how she’s come to be there drop away. Instead, dazzled by her seeming
exoticism, the Smarts begin to examine the accidents of their lives
through the searing lens of Amber’s perceptions. When Eve finally banishes
her from the cottage, Amber disappears from their sight, but not—they
discover when they return home to London—from their profoundly altered
Fearlessly intelligent and written with an irresistible blend of lyricism
and whimsy, The Accidental is a tour de force of literary
improvisation that explores the nature of truth, the role of chance, and
the transformative power of storytelling.
Hotel World (2001
US) -- Winner
Scottish Arts Council Book Award, and
inaugural Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year
Five people: four are living; three are strangers; two are sisters; one, a
teenage hotel chambermaid, has fallen to her death in a dumbwaiter. But
her spirit lingers in the world, straining to recall things she never
knew. And one night all five women find themselves in the smooth plush
environs of the Global Hotel, where the intersection of their very
different fates make for this playful, defiant, and richly inventive
Forget room service: this is a riotous elegy, a deadpan celebration of
colliding worlds, and a spirited defense of love. Blending incisive wit
with surprising compassion, Hotel World is a wonderfully invigorating,
When we meet Amy Shone, she is a young parent
struggling to raise Kate, a precocious eight-year-old. Amy is an enigma-a
brilliant scholar who has forgotten how to read. She is estranged from her
wealthy English parents and lives a nomadic life in Scotland, dragging
Kate from one school to the next, barely scraping by. And then there is
Ash, a fiery Scottish actress who cannot shake her demons-chief among them
an unrequited passion for Amy that has obsessed her ever since they met as
teenagers. Like is the story of two parallel lives that intersect briefly,
then diverge. It is also a timeless evocation of adolescence and its
agonizing anticipations, its contradictory yearnings for freedom and
safety, its blind quest for mastery over pleasure and pain. Deftly
constructed, passionately imagined, Like is a remarkably mature debut for
a powerful young talent.
Death to the readers (1996)
The Whole Story and Other Stories
From the critically acclaimed author of Hotel World
comes a collection of uniquely inventive stories that thread the labyrinth
of coincidence, chance, and connections missed and made.
What happens when you run into Death in a busy train station? (You know
he's Death because when he smiles, your cell phone goes dead.) What if
your lover falls in love with a tree? Should you be jealous? From the
woman pursued by a band of bagpipers in full regalia to the artist who's
built a seven-foot boat out of secondhand copies of The Great Gatsby,
Smith's characters are offbeat, charming, sexy, and as wonderfully complex
as life itself.
Other Stories and Other Stories (1999
Free Love and Other Stories (1995
Winner Saltire First Book of the Year award
The Seer (2006,
Neil and Iona are a comfortable but complacent couple in their early
thirties with well-paid professional jobs in a Scottish metropolis. They
dress both themselves and their home immaculately; their lives are
ordered to the point of sterility. Into their lives bursts Kirsty,
Iona's anarchic sister, who manages to turn the whole evening into a
startling topsy turvy treat. Only a bit to do with Hielan second sight,
The Seer is a contemporary comedy of manners which asks the
audience to consider just what it is they are seeing; a lively, funny,
satirical rollercoaster where words like 'free' and 'spirit' encounter a
whole new Scottish distillation.
Laws of the Bandit Queens: Words to
Live by from 35 of Today's Most Revolutionary Women (2002
A couple of years ago, Ali Smith had an
inspiration. She decided that the time had come to make an ?intensely
personal and sincere piece of art? that would honor the women whose work
she respected and whose lives had had an impact on her as a woman and on
the world as a whole. So, one by one, she began to contact each of these
outrageous, courageous, and influential women and invite them to be part
of her project. She named it Laws of the Bandit Queens after Phoolan
Devi, an Indian woman who rebelled from childhood against everything her
culture demanded of her.
After two years of photography sessions and interviews in every
thinkable location, from a rooftop in New York City to the women's ward
of a prison, Ali's work is done. The result is a fun and inspiring
collection of portraits? in words and pictures. Each of these incredible
women offers a law for women and girls to live by.
Freeda George Foreman: Pure passion is achieved by revving up the heart,
soul, mind, and spirit. Pure passion is pure power. You are bigger than
life; you are unlimited.
Alice Walker: I am certain that we were
meant to be creative, to make love, to sing and dance and play.
Everything else was dreamed up for us.
Jane Pratt: Another woman's success is a success for us all.
Amy Sedaris: Laughter through the tears.
Laws of the Bandit Queens is an amazing journey and essential
reading for every woman or girl, and as Ali says in the introduction, "a
celebration of original thought and the bravery it takes to live
Brilliant Careers: The Virago Book of
20th Century Fiction (2000
US), Ali Smith, Kasia Boddy,
and Sarah Wood, ed.
A seminal fiction
collection that stretches from
Gertrude Stein to Grace Paley, from
Edith Wharton to Angela Carter, from Mae West to
Margaret Atwood, from
Zora Neale Hurston to
Joyce Carol Oates. Add to this
another ninety-two brilliant writers a reader can relish the thought of
careering between - and all collected together in the one anthology. An
international celebration of extracts that chart our time: stories of
poverty and wealth, work and play, tales of changing environments - both
urban and rural, in peace and wartime. A book of Virago authors with
every year of the twentieth century represented by groundbreaker after
Brilliant Careers gathers all the energies and circumstances of
twentieth-century women writers into the one book, covering ten decades
from the century closest to all our hearts, swinging from one end to the
other of a hundred years of history and change via the very best of
twentieth century fiction.
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