Ali Smith

Ali Smith bigraphy, stories - British writer

Ali Smith : biography

1962 –

Ali Smith (born 1962 in Inverness) is a Scottish writer.

She was born to working-class parents, raised in a council house in Inverness and now lives in Cambridge. She studied at the University of Aberdeen and then at Newnham College, Cambridge, for a PhD that she never finished. She worked as a lecturer at University of Strathclyde until she fell ill with CFS/ME. Following this she became a full-time writer and now writes for The Guardian, The Scotsman, and the Times Literary Supplement. Openly gay, she lives in Cambridge with her partner filmmaker Sarah Wood.

In 2007 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

In 2009, she donated the short story Last (previously published in the Manchester Review Online) to Oxfam’s ‘Ox-Tales’ project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the ‘Fire’ collection.

Short story collections

  • Free Love and Other Stories (1995), awarded the Saltire First Book of the Year award.
  • Other Stories and Other Stories (1999)
  • The Whole Story and Other Stories (2003)
  • The First Person and Other Stories (2008)


  • Like (1997)
  • Hotel World (2001), awarded the Encore Award, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and the inaugural Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The novel was adapted for the stage by Kidbrooke secondary school and was performed at the Greenwich Theatre and the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
  • The Accidental (2005), shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and won the 2005 Whitbread Novel of the Year award.
  • Girl Meets Boy (2007), winner of Diva magazine readers’ choice Book of the Year, Sundial Scottish Arts Council Novel of the Year.
  • There But For The (2011), cited by the Guardian book review as one of the best novels of the year. Books of the year 2011


  • The Seer (2001)
  • Just (2005)

Other projects

  • Ali Smith partnered with the Scottish band Trashcan Sinatras and wrote the lyrics to a song called "Half An Apple", a love song about keeping half an apple spare for a loved one who is gone. The song was released on March 5, 2007, on the album Ballads of the Book.
  • In 2008 Ali Smith produced The Book Lover a collection of her favourite writing including pieces from Sylvia Plath, Muriel Spark, Grace Paley, and Margaret Atwood. It also includes work from lesser known writers like Joseph Roth and Clarice Lispector.
  • In 2011 she wrote a short memoir for The Observer in their "Once upon a life" series ‘Looking back on her life, writer Ali Smith returns to the moment of conception to weave a poignant and funny memoir of an irreverent father, a weakness for Greek musicals and a fateful border crossing’ .
  • In October 2012, she read a sermon at Manchester Cathedral to guests and students, followed by a book signing
  • In 2013, Smith published Artful, a book based on her lectures on European comparative literature delivered the previous year at Saint Anne’s College, Oxford. Much more than a work of literary criticism, it is a book about what art can do. Artful was well-received, with one reviewer commenting that, "…her new book, in which she tugs at God’s sleeve, ruminates on clowns, shoplifts used books, dabbles in Greek and palavers with the dead, is a stunner."