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Ali Smith (1) (1962–)

Author of The Accidental

For other authors named Ali Smith, see the disambiguation page.

47+ Works 14,483 Members 626 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: © Jerry Bauer/AP


Works by Ali Smith

The Accidental (2006) 2,759 copies
Autumn (2016) 2,020 copies
How to Be Both (2014) 1,571 copies
Hotel World (2001) 1,245 copies
Winter (2017) 1,080 copies
There But For The (2011) 1,025 copies
Spring (2019) 751 copies
Summer (2020) 595 copies
Artful (2012) 360 copies
Companion Piece (2022) 325 copies
Like (1997) 193 copies
Free Love and Other Stories (1995) 131 copies
The Book Lover (2008) 60 copies
The Story of Antigone (2011) 50 copies
The Reader (2006) — Editor — 47 copies
The Seer (2006) 23 copies
New Writing 13 (2005) — Editor & Introduction — 17 copies
Shire (2013) 17 copies
BP Portrait Award 2016 (2016) 10 copies
Writ (2006) 8 copies
Shorts III (2000) 7 copies
The Door 3 copies
Estate (2021) 3 copies
The Switch 2 copies
Whiter 1 copy
Tate Etc. (Issue 7, Summer 2006) — Contributor — 1 copy
Last 1 copy

Associated Works

The Book of a Thousand Days (2007) — Cover artist, some editions — 2,568 copies
Wise Children (1991) — Introduction, some editions — 1,911 copies
The Door (2005) — Introduction, some editions — 1,800 copies
A Far Cry from Kensington (1988) — Introduction, some editions — 1,279 copies
The Hearing Trumpet (1967) — Introduction, some editions — 1,095 copies
The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972) — Introduction, some editions — 1,089 copies
The True Deceiver (1982) — Introduction, some editions — 988 copies
The Winner's Crime (2015) — Cover artist, some editions — 894 copies
The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield (1945) — Introduction, some editions — 892 copies
Fair Play (1989) — Introduction, some editions — 720 copies
Trumpet (1998) — Introduction, some editions — 631 copies
A Winter Book (1998) — Introduction, some editions — 591 copies
The Comforters (1957) — Introduction, some editions — 507 copies
The Abbess of Crewe (1974) — Introduction, some editions — 469 copies
Sculptor's Daughter: A Childhood Memoir (2013) — Introduction, some editions — 303 copies
Travelling Light (1987) — Foreword, some editions — 235 copies
Greenvoe (1972) — Introduction, some editions — 192 copies
Genius and Ink: Virginia Woolf on How to Read (2019) — Foreword — 98 copies
Love in a Bottle (1935) — Foreword, some editions — 98 copies
The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Short Stories (1999) — Contributor — 95 copies
Poems Between Women (1997) — Contributor — 92 copies
Ox-Tales: Fire (2009) — Contributor — 81 copies
Midsummer Nights (1702) — Contributor — 73 copies
Furies: Stories of the wicked, wild and untamed (2023) — Contributor — 60 copies
In bed with … (2008) — Contributor — 56 copies
Sex and Death: Stories (2016) — Contributor — 44 copies
Refugee Tales (2016) — Contributor — 36 copies
Diva Book of Short Stories (2000) — Contributor — 32 copies
First Light: A celebration of Alan Garner (2016) — Contributor — 29 copies
Necrologue: The Diva Book of the Dead and the Undead (2003) — Contributor — 25 copies
Why Willows Weep: Contemporary Tales from the Woods (2011) — Contributor — 22 copies
Women on Nature (2021) — Contributor — 21 copies
TLS Short Stories (2003) — Contributor — 12 copies
The Brighton Book (2005) — Contributor — 11 copies
Small Talk: Memories of an Edwardian Childhood (1973) — Introduction, some editions — 11 copies
The Seven Deadly Sins: A Celebration of Virtue and Vice (2012) — Contributor — 9 copies
Derek Jarman's modern nature — Contributor — 2 copies


20th century (284) 21st century (163) art (157) Booker Prize Shortlist (113) Brexit (107) British (360) British fiction (95) British literature (257) contemporary (120) contemporary fiction (162) ebook (139) England (302) English (94) English literature (169) fairy tales (153) family (144) fantasy (528) fiction (3,806) Finland (151) friendship (111) Hungary (115) library (101) literary fiction (214) literature (282) London (131) magical realism (105) novel (704) NYRB (123) read (333) romance (132) Scotland (160) Scottish (142) short stories (756) surrealism (111) to-read (2,422) UK (140) unread (169) women (100) YA (154) young adult (198)

Common Knowledge



2017 Booker Prize longlist: Autumn by Ali Smith in Booker Prize (October 2017)
2014 Booker Prize longlist: How to Be Both in Booker Prize (August 2014)
Group Read, April 2014: There But For The in 1001 Books to read before you die (April 2014)
England, lit fic, newer, at a party in Name that Book (January 2012)
The Accidental by Ali Smith in Orange January/July (January 2012)


Ali Smith is simply brilliant. For me, Winter was more difficult to get into, but I ended up liking it more than Autumn.

Winter describes a Christmas gathering of a (typically) dysfunctional family. The family is made up of Sophie, her polar-opposite sister Iris, Sophie's son Art and Lux - a stranger Art paid to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend Charlotte.

Despite it being angry and very political, Winter had a certain air of lightness about it. I especially liked Lux, an outsider who brings chaos but also illuminates.

On the language front, Smith doesn't disappoint; her literary allusions and puns are plentiful. Nothing is accidental in her books.
She also has an unmatched sense of humour in contemporary literature. Reading her in translation would be a literary sin.

"I said, Art is seeing things. And your aunt said, that's a great description of what art is. "

The subtle reference to Autumn was beautiful. That was the turning point when I just fell in love with this book.

“That’s what winter is: an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.”

In 2020, this rings especially relevant.
… (more)
ZeljanaMaricFerli | 51 other reviews | Mar 4, 2024 |
(6.5)I only finished this book a few days ago but am already struggling to recall the characters and storyline. Not a good sign. I found it disjointed and uneven.
I did enjoy the portrayal of the relationship between Richard, the aging film director and his longtime friendship with Paddy his scriptwriter, who was dying of cancer.
Spring is the time for hope and new beginnings and following Paddy's death, Richard walks away from his life and catches a train North. When he gets off at a random station and plans to end his life, a 13year old girl, Florence, intervenes and he becomes involved in an escapade with her and her companion Brit. Brit works as a Detention Officer at a camp for refugees. Here we learn of the unfair treatment that is being meted out to the detainees by Britain.
There is also an element of surrealism especially around the child Florence. At times I felt I didn't understand what was happening. It did manage to end on a lighter note with Richard contemplating making contact with his estranged adult daughter.
… (more)
HelenBaker | 35 other reviews | Feb 26, 2024 |
This novel put me in mind of Nabokov... its distinguishing feature is wordplay, a bit of experiment with form, a cleverness. And a coldness, a sterility. Does anyone care about any of these characters? Can they produce genuine feeling in the reader? Are they doing anything or struggling with anything that engages the reader’s empathy? The character of Astrid, a 12 year old girl trying to emerge into her own, comes closest, but the other characters are a big “who cares?” Amber’s character just makes no sense whatsoever, and she’s the catalyst for most development, so that’s a big issue.

Perhaps I got a bit burned out on Nabokov-ian style after reading his entire corpus of novels. Cleverness is not enough. I want more humanity. This isn’t a badly written book by any means, but it’s not what I’m looking for.
… (more)
lelandleslie | 112 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |
AnkaraLibrary | 104 other reviews | Feb 23, 2024 |


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Sarah Wood Photographer
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Niall Griffiths Contributor
Maggie O'Farrell Contributor
Neil Stewart Contributor
Donald Paterson Contributor
Lawrence Norfolk Contributor
Fay Weldon Contributor
A.S. Irvine Contributor
Martin Ouvry Contributor
Vicky Grut Contributor
Nicholas Pierpan Contributor
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Ismail B. Garba Contributor
Azmeena Ladha Contributor
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Muriel Spark Contributor
Kate Atkinson Contributor
David Mitchell Contributor
Monique Roffey Contributor
Tom Pow Contributor
Helen Simpson Contributor
Romesh Gunesekera Contributor
Louise Doughty Contributor
Peter Hobbs Contributor
Daren King Contributor
Matt Thorne Contributor
Emily Perkins Contributor
Paul Bailey Contributor
Steven Hall Contributor
Tony Peake Contributor
Edwin Morgan Contributor
John Burnside Contributor
Ian Duhig Contributor
Gerard Woodward Contributor
Jackie Kay Contributor
Frances Gapper Contributor
Jen Hadfield Contributor
Ramona Herdman Contributor
Nick Laird Contributor
James Hopkin Contributor
Ciaran Carson Contributor
John Logan Contributor
Susan D. Hill Foreword
Merete Alfsen Translator
David Hockney Cover artist
Melody Grove Narrator
Oliver Munday Cover designer
Jeff Woodman Narrator
Stina Nielsen Narrator
Kristiina Drews Translator
Simon Prebble Narrator
Ruth Moore Narrator
Pia Juul Translator
John Banks Narrator
Ninna Brenøe Translator
Tracey Emin Cover artist
Hi-en Montijn Translator
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