80 Inspiring Zadie Smith Quotes for Upcoming Writers

Born Sadie Smith in London (1975), Zadie Smith garnered acclaim with her debut novel, “White Teeth” (2000), celebrated for its vibrant characters and dialogue, exploring race, religion and identity.

Smith, of Jamaican-English descent, initiated her literary journey young, later graduating from Cambridge (1998).

Her works, including “The Autograph Man” (2002), “On Beauty” (2005) and “Swing Time” (2016) uniquely weave through themes of self-discovery, celebrity culture and societal reflections.


Smith also contributed to and edited various collections, penned plays and co-authored a children’s book, establishing herself as a defining literary voice.

Let’s go through some of the top quotes by Zadie Smith in this article.

Best Zadie Smith Quotes


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I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me. ~ Zadie Smith.


We cannot love something solely because it has been ignored. It must also be worthy of our attention. ~ Zadie Smith.


You are never stronger…than when you land on the other side of despair. ~ Zadie Smith.


The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free. ~ Zadie Smith.


Like all readers, I want my limits to be drawn by my own sensibilities, not by my melanin count. ~ Zadie Smith.


There is no bigger crime, in the English comic novel, than thinking you are right. ~ Zadie Smith.


Can’t a rapper insist, like other artists, on a fictional reality, in which he is somehow still on the corner, despite occupying the penthouse suite? ~ Zadie Smith.


It’s difficult to tell the truth about how a book begins. The truth, as far as it can be presented to other people, is either wholly banal or too intimate. ~ Zadie Smith.


I am very selfish, really. I lived for love. ~ Zadie Smith.

Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied. ~ Zadie Smith.

Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied. ~ Zadie Smith.


For ridding oneself of faith is like boiling seawater to retrieve the salt – something is gained but something is lost. ~ Zadie Smith.

I find it impossible to experience either pride or shame over accidents of genetics in which I had no active part. I’m not necessarily proud to be female. I am not even proud to be human – I only love to be so. ~ Zadie Smith.


The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life. ~ Zadie Smith.


You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence. ~ Zadie Smith.

When I was 21, I wanted to write like Kafka. But, unfortunately for me, I wrote like a script editor for ‘The Simpsons’ who’d briefly joined a religious cult and then discovered Foucault. Such is life. ~ Zadie Smith.

Top Zadie Smith Quotes


The nineties, ecstatic decade! ~ Zadie Smith.

The world is now multicultural the same way the world is round. It’s not a selling point, it’s not a ‘quirky’ feature, it’s not a cynical marketing ploy, it’s not an artistic statement, it’s not even a plot device. It’s a fact, like seedless grapes. ~ Zadie Smith.


Most of the cruelty in the world is just misplaced energy. ~ Zadie Smith.

My life is black and white and mixed. My mother’s a Rastafarian, my dad was a short white guy – it’s not an affectation. It’s also the lives of millions of people throughout the world. ~ Zadie Smith.


An essential part of power is the freedom not to think too deeply. ~ Zadie Smith.

The end is simply the beginning of an even longer story. ~ Zadie Smith.


You say you want to talk, But you don’t. You stonewall me. ~ Zadie Smith.

Normally, young writers have all the time in the world and they don’t always use it well. ~ Zadie Smith.

Don’t romanticize your ‘vocation.’ You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle.’ All that matters is what you leave on the page. ~ Zadie Smith.

Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can be wrong-headed. ~ Zadie Smith.


Don’t live in a way that makes you feel dead. ~ Zadie Smith.

It’s gotten to a point where everybody is concerned about their rights and nobody is concerned about their duties. ~ Zadie Smith.

Inspirational Zadie Smith Quotes

Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you. ~ Zadie Smith.


Learning how to be a good reader is what makes you a writer. ~ Zadie Smith.

Desperation, weakness, vulnerability – these things will always be exploited. You need to protect the weak, ring-fence them, with something far stronger than empathy. ~ Zadie Smith.


Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories. ~ Zadie Smith.

I recognize myself to be an intensely naïve person. Most novelists are, despite frequent pretensions to deep socio-political insight. ~ Zadie Smith.

Women often have a great need to portray themselves as sympathetic and pleasing, but we’re also dark people with dark thoughts. ~ Zadie Smith.


The library was the place I went to find out what there was to know. It was absolutely essential. ~ Zadie Smith.

Art is the Western myth, with which we both console ourselves and make ourselves. ~ Zadie Smith.

People profess to have certain political positions, but their conservatism or liberalism is really the least interesting thing about them. ~ Zadie Smith.


It’s such a confidence trick, writing a novel. The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself. This is hard to do alone. ~ Zadie Smith.

I love to dance, and sing – in the shower, not in public. I’m too old to go raving, but my fondest memories are of that kind of thing – dancing, with lots of people, outside if possible. ~ Zadie Smith.

A man is a man is a man. His family threatened, his beliefs attacked, his way of life destroyed, his whole world coming to an end – he will kill. Make no mistake. He won’t let the new order roll over him without a struggle. ~ Zadie Smith.

When I think of the books I love, there’s always a little laughter in the dark. ~ Zadie Smith.


All tastes are expressions of belief. ~ Zadie Smith.

It’s a feeling of happiness that knocks me clean out of adjectives. I think sometimes that the best reason for writing novels is to experience those four and a half hours after you write the final word. ~ Zadie Smith.


The secret to editing your work is simple: you need to become its reader instead of its writer. ~ Zadie Smith.

Famous Zadie Smith Quotes

If you’re going to write a good book, you have to make mistakes and you have to not be so cautious all the time. ~ Zadie Smith.


I cannot believe homosexuality is that much fun. Heterosexuality certainly is not. ~ Zadie Smith.

This is what divorce is: taking things you no longer want from people you no longer love. ~ Zadie Smith.

It made me feel that I had to work very hard, but I’ve always felt I had to work very hard to get my own approval. ~ Zadie Smith.

Any woman who counts on her face is a fool. ~ Zadie Smith.


You don’t have favorites among your children, but you do have allies. ~ Zadie Smith.

I often worry that my idea of personhood is nostalgic, irrational, inaccurate. ~ Zadie Smith.

English, as a subject, never really got over its upstart nature. It tries to bulk itself up with hopeless jargon and specious complexity, tries to imitate subjects it can never be. ~ Zadie Smith.

No fiction, no myths, no lies, no tangled webs – this is how Irie imagined her homeland. Because homeland is one of the magical fantasy words like unicorn and soul and infinity that have now passed into language. ~ Zadie Smith.


In the end, your past is not my past and your truth is not my truth and your solution – is not my solution. ~ Zadie Smith.

We cannot be all the writers all the time. We can only be who we are. Which leads me to my second point: writers do not write what they want, they write what they can. ~ Zadie Smith.

I do my best work under pressure, so I’ll nick an artery, and my husband isn’t allowed to stanch the bleeding till I’ve banged out a chapter. ~ Zadie Smith.

Each couple is its own vaudeville act. ~ Zadie Smith.


Sometimes you get a flash of what you look like to other people. ~ Zadie Smith.

It’s a funny thing about rap, that when you say ‘I’ into the microphone, it’s like a public confession. It’s very strange. ~ Zadie Smith.

In a whisper he began begging for – and, as the sun set, received – the concession people always beg for: a little more time. ~ Zadie Smith.

Novels are not about expressing yourself, they’re about something beautiful, funny, clever and organic. Self-expression? Go and ring a bell in a yard if you want to express yourself. ~ Zadie Smith.


It’s easy to confuse a woman for a philosophy. ~ Zadie Smith.

Your mid-thirties is a good time because you know a fair amount, you have some self-control. ~ Zadie Smith.


Anyone over the age of thirty catching a bus can consider himself a failure. ~ Zadie Smith.

She hopes for nothing except fine weather and a resolution. She wants to end properly, like a good sentence. ~ Zadie Smith.

You don’t come to live here unless the delusion of a reality shaped around your own desires isn’t a strong aspect of your personality. A reality shaped around your own desires – there is something sociopathic in that ambition. ~ Zadie Smith.

Time is how you spend your love. ~ Zadie Smith.


Full stories are as rare as honesty. ~ Zadie Smith.

Nowadays I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own. ~ Zadie Smith.

Any artist who aligns themselves with a politician is making a category error because what politicians do is not on a human scale, it is on a geopolitical scale. ~ Zadie Smith.

I read Carver. Julio Cortazar. Amis’s essays. Baldwin. Lorrie Moore. Capote. Saramago. Larkin. Wodehouse. Anything, anything at all, that doesn’t sound like me. ~ Zadie Smith.


The lack of alternatives to an illegal action does not legitimize that action. ~ Zadie Smith.

A reality shaped around your own desires – there is something sociopathic in that ambition. ~ Zadie Smith.


Fate is a quantity very much like TV: an unstoppable narrative, written, produced and directed by somebody else. ~ Zadie Smith.

It’s got two aspects. The bit that involves the public life I could not really tolerate and cannot really tolerate. I just can’t get used to the idea of being somebody unreal in people’s minds. I can’t live my life like that. ~ Zadie Smith.

When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. ~ Zadie Smith.


It hurts just as much as it is worth. ~ Zadie Smith.

Try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would. ~ Zadie Smith.

The past is always tense, the future perfect. ~ Zadie Smith.

Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time. ~ Zadie Smith.

So these were the 80 top Zadie Smith quotes on writing, storytelling for emerging and new writers.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Roddy Ricch quotes and David Rockefeller quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar