“I wrote he first draft in about nine months. I was on the island of Nantucket. I had no friends there, so I was very efficient.”
Zadie Smith's former Californian student has been compared to John Updike and Jane Smiley. She has just won the £30,000 Dylan Thomas Prize for writers under 30 for her debut novel Seating Arrangements, a satirical study of an American family. Her book Astonish Me, about a ballet dancer who helps a Soviet star to defect, is due out in 2014. Could she win a Pulitzer before she's 50?