Zadie Smith, the lone Brit in America's hot 100*

Not even Gordon Brown could hold his place in Time's power list. So how did the 'White Teeth' author do it?
Click to follow
Indy Politics

The author Zadie Smith will tomorrow enjoy the distinction of being the only Briton in Time magazine's latest list of the world's most powerful and influential people.

Already a favourite to win this week's Orange Prize for Fiction, Ms Smith, 30, takes her place alongside some of the world's most recognisable names, including perennial entries Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. Her fellow new entries on Time's third annual list include the actress Reese Witherspoon, Hollywood producer J J Abrams and golfer Michelle Wie.

The annual list traditionally charts the world's top movers and shakers. Its publication tomorrow sees the removal of eight high-profile Britons, including the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, and yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Time's executive editor, Adi Ignatius, who oversaw the compilation of the list, whittled down from an initial 800 nominations, was full of praise for Ms Smith, whose novels include White Teeth and On Beauty.

"Zadie Smith is the best example of where 21st-century literature is right now," said Mr Ignatius. "She's writing about a world that is post-colonial, borderless, inter-married, inter-mixed and truly global.

"She has a certain type of light, lyrical, satirical prose which we feel is being imitated by a lot of writers now - in that sense she is extremely influential."

Ms Smith's inclusion in the Time 100 is likely to increase international attention for the young author from Willesden, north London. Her first novel, White Teeth, published in 2000 when she was only 24, won both the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. On Beauty is her third book, after The Autograph Man, and her third successive Orange prize nomination.

Friend and fellow novelist Hari Kunzru said he could understand Ms Smith's inclusion in the Time 100 ahead of other leading authors. "Zadie's turned up at a time when the media, and society more generally, is looking for new role models. She's mixed race, unashamedly high-cultural in many of her interests, and writes very humorously about communities which function through difference and muddle. She's a very hopeful and positive presence."

The Time 100 list is split into five categories. Joining Ms Smith among Artists and Entertainers list are the director Ang Lee, Will Smith and George Clooney.

* This is at least the 45th headline in the national press to include the word Zadie since 1 January 2005


Angelina Jolie, 30, actress

Time says: "Sticks with a subject, immerses herself in it, makes it part of her life"

JJ Abrams, 39, producer/director

Time says: "A creative juggernaut who rejoices in creating"

Michelle Wie, 16, golfer

Time says: "Driving straight through golf's gender barriers"


Dan Brown, 41, author

Time says: "The film of The Da Vinci Code is coming [He could be] back next year"

Ellen MacArthur, 29, yachtswoman

Time says: "She hasn't been in the spotlight much this year"

Gordon Brown, 55, politician

Time says: "Excite-ment about take-over has subsided a bit"