Zadie Smith’s 7 Favorite Books

The British author of NW shares her must-reads, from James Baldwin to Toni Morrison to Alex Haley.

Image 1
  • images2Fslides2Fsmith_favorite_authors_092712_5702
    Ulf Andersen/Getty Images; Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images; U.S. Coast Guard

    Given the huge splash she made with her 2000 debut novel, White Teeth, biracial Brit author Zadie Smith became an instant literary star at the tender age of 25. With each successive effort, Smith has been measured against her past accomplishments and has largely continued to excel. She’s on her fourth novel now in NW, a dense tale of young adults growing up in multiracial, working-class London. Recently, Smith offered The Root a list of her favorite books by black authors who helped shape her writerly world.

  • images2Fslides2Fthesoulsofblackfolk_webdubois_092712_1
    Creative Commons (via Wikipedia);  A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago
  • images2Fslides2Ftheireyeswerewatchinggod_hurston_092712_1
    Library of Congress; J.B. Lippincott
  • images2Fslides2Fbaldwin_firenextdoor_092712_1
    Creative Commons (via Wikipedia); Dial Press
  • images2Fslides2Fthebluesteyes_morrison_092712_1
    Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images; Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  • images2Fslides2Fmalcolmx_hailey_092712_1
    U.S. Coast Guard; Grove Press
  • images2Fslides2Ftheblackbook_tonimorrison_092712
    Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images; Random House
  • images2Fslides2Fhurricane_Salkey_092712_400jrw_1
    Caribbean Review of Books; Peepal Tree Press