Ali Smith: Biography

Ali Smith

24 aug 1962

Ali Smith is a Scottish writer who has published a number of award winning novels, most notably Hotel World (2001), The Accidental (2005) and How to Be Both (2014). She has published four short story collections, one of which was awarded the Saltire First Book of the Year Award (Free Love and Other Stories, 1995). Smith donated her short story, Last (previously published in the Manchester Review Online), to Oxfam’s ‘Ox-Tales’ project in 2009.

Raised in Inverness by working class parents, Smith attended both the University of Aberdeen and Newnham College, Cambridge. She stopped short of achieving a PhD, but has always been devoted to her writing. After working as a lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, she began to suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and then she turned to writing full time.

Smith currently writes for The Guardian, The Scotsman, and the Times Literary Supplement. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007, and in 2015 was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to literature. Also in 2015, Smith won the Bailey’s prize for women’s fiction for her book, How to Be Both.

Besides novels and short stories, Smith dabbles in other projects, including plays, nonfiction, song lyrics and memoirs. She spends much effort encouraging other writers, and promotes debut authors in an annual literary festival event that is held each April in Cambridge. She is openly gay and lives with her partner, Sarah Wood (filmmaker) in Cambridge.