What Were You Doing When You Were 24?
Zadie Smith wrote a novel.
And said novel, White Teeth, wasn’t just a novel she threw together, got some clip art for the cover, and self-published on Amazon.
White Teeth is a novel that won countless awards when it was published in 2000, including The James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Book Award in category for first novel, the Guardian First Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize, the Betty Trask Award, and–oh, yeah–the novel was placed on that little thing called the All-Time 100 novels list in 2005.
This was her first novel. I repeat…her first novel!
Smith reportedly received a 250,000 pound (how do you make the British “pound” sign?) advance for the novel. That’s unheard of. A first-time novelist receiving that kind of advance?
When I was 24, I had just dropped out of law school and was floating around the western parts of the United States trying to “find my calling” in a run down Isuzu Rodeo and a Visa in my pocket. And here we have amazing writers like Zadie Smith and Carson McCullers (she was 23) who go out and write incredible novels.
Today, Zadie Smith is 39 and the author of six novels and a collection of short stories. She’s done pretty well for herself, that Zadie Smith.
I’ll be reviewing White Teeth within the next week, and I must tell you guys that I absolutely loved this novel. Loved it.
Now, let’s all be envious of Zadie Smith and reflect on what losers we were at age 24.
Image: Wikimedia Commons