Books

Autumn

Ali Smith

LONGLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2017

A breathtakingly inventive new novel from the Man Booker-shortlisted and Baileys Prize-winning author of How to be both

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That's what it felt like for Keats in 1819.

How about Autumn 2016?

Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.

Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever.

Ali Smith's new novel is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. This first in a seasonal quartet casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearian jeu d'esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s Pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history-making.

Here's where we're living. Here's time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic.

From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.

Here comes Autumn.

Public library and other stories

Ali Smith

A richly inventive new collection of stories from Ali Smith, author of How to be both, winner of the Baileys Women's Prize and the Costa Novel Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Why are books so very powerful?

What do the books we've read over our lives - our own personal libraries - make of us?

What does the unravelling of our tradition of public libraries, so hard-won but now in jeopardy, say about us?

The stories in Ali Smith's new collection are about what we do with books and what they do with us: how they travel with us; how they shock us, change us, challenge us, banish time while making us older, wiser and ageless all at once; how they remind us to pay attention to the world we make.

Public libraries are places of joy, freedom, community and discovery - and right now they are under threat from funding cuts and widespread closures across the UK and further afield. With this brilliantly inventive collection, Ali Smith joins the campaign to save our public libraries and celebrate their true place in our culture and history.

How to be Both

Ali Smith

WINNER OF THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2015

WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2014

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014

WINNER OF THE 2014 COSTA NOVEL AWARD

WINNER OF THE SALTIRE SOCIETY LITERARY BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2014

NOMINATED FOR THE FOLIO PRIZE 2015

How to be both is the dazzling, award-winning novel by Ali Smith

Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith's novels are like nothing else.

How to be both is a novel all about art's versatility. Borrowing from painting's fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it's a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.


'Brims with palpable joy' Daily Telegraph

'She's a genius, genuinely modern in the heroic, glorious sense' Alain de Botton

'I take my hat off to Ali Smith. Her writing lifts the soul' Evening Standard

The Whole Story and Other Stories

Ali Smith

A brilliant collection of stories from a much loved and highly praised author.

Stories for people who've grown up being told time is running out - and don't want it to . . . How do you ever know the whole story? How do you ever know even part of the story? How do you find meaning when chance and coincidence could, after all, just be chance and coincidence? In a celebration of connections and missed connections, an inquiry into everything from flies and trees and books to sex, art, drunkenness and love, Smith rewrites the year's cycle into a very modern calendar.

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Ali Smith (and others)

An unusual, witty anthology of love stories selected by Ali Smith, Kasia Boddy and Sarah Wood.

Love means never having to say you're sorry. No, love is in the air. No, love is the sweetest thing. No, it's soft as an easy chair. No, it's a stranger in an open car. No, it's a many-splendoured thing. No, it's the drug. No, it's like a butterfly.

Oh, let's call the whole thing off.


Love stories don't always involve hearts and flowers and walks in the park. This sparkling collection of the world's greatest love quarrels, from Chekhov to Colette, from D. H. Lawrence to Jhumpa Lahiri, features love stories for every mood and occasion. Here are new lovers testing the ground, cosy couples enjoying a quiet squabble before bedtime, and exes intent on picking up where they left off.

Often love quarrels start with trivial matters, such as a bride's new hat in Dorothy Parker's 'Here We Are' or a choice of bedtime book in Jackie Kay's 'You Go When You Can No Longer Stay'. But it doesn't usually take long for the stakes to be raised. Love is a risky business ...

ALI SMITH was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of Like (1997); Other Stories And Other Stories (1999); Hotel World (2001), which was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize; The Whole Stories and Other Stories (2003) and The Accidental, published by Hamish Hamilton in 2005. Ali Smith also writes for the Guardian, the Scotsman and the TLS.

KASIA BODDY is a senior lecturer in English at UCL. She is the author of Boxing: A Cultural History (2008) and co-editor (with Ali Smith & Sarah Wood) of Brilliant Careers: The Virago Book of Twentieth-Century Fiction (2000); she has contributed an introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

SARAH WOOD is an artist, filmmaker and film curator.

Artful

Ali Smith

Artful presents, in book form, four lectures given by Ali Smith at Oxford University.

Refusing to be tied down to either fiction or the essay form, Artful is narrated by a character who is haunted - literally - by a former lover, the writer of a series of lectures about art and literature. Full of both the poignancy and humour of fiction and all the sideways insights and jaunty angles you would expect from Ali Smith's criticism, it explores form, style, life, love, death, mortality, immortality and what art and writing can mean.

Part fiction, part essay, Artful is a revelation of what writing can do and a reaffirmation of Ali Smith's unmatched literary powers.

'Playful, full of insight and humanity, constantly surprising . . . another genuine attempt to bust open the boundaries of literary form' Jonathan Coe, Metro

'Joyful and optimistic. Will be entertaining reading for anyone interested in the art of writing, also of living, well' New Statesman

'Glittering inventiveness. Not just a ghost story, but also a love letter. As emotionally freighted as a piece of storytelling, as intellectually rigorous as an academic's essay' Independent

'An insight into an author who is in love with books, invention and words in all their depth and shiny surface' Herald

'A revelation, a new kind of book altogether, a book that defies categorisation and leaps out of every box anyone could try and put it in; a book that marries fiction to nonfiction, literary criticism to essays; a book that is as serious as it is witty, as light as it is enlightening. Artful makes you glad to be alive' Observer, Books of the Year

'One of the marvelous things about this book is its reconciliation of the serious - both in the form of this crumbling, smelly guest and in its ardent advocacy of art - and light. Smith, whose love of words and skill at wordplay has already been made apparent in her stories and novels, performs dodge after dodge after dodge . . . what Smith has done with Artful is to invent a new form apart from form, to build a kind of Frankenstein's monster inside the act of art' LA Review of Books

'Smith is a trickster, an etymologist, a fantasist, a pun-freak, an ontologist, a transgenrenatrix . . . A wordsmith to the very smithy of her soul, she is at once deeply playful and deeply serious. Artful, 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' New York Times

'These brief, acrobatic lectures . . . perform spectacular feats of criticism. Each is as playful as it is powerful, as buoyant as it is brilliant' NPR

'Contemplative, electrifying' Publishers Weekly

There but for the

Ali Smith

There but for the is the sparkling satirical novel by bestselling Ali Smith

'There once was a man who, one night between the main course and the sweet at a dinner party, went upstairs and locked himself in one of the bedrooms of the house of the people who were giving the dinner party . . .'

As time passes by and the consequences of this stranger's actions ripple outwards, touching the owners, the guests, the neighbours and the whole country, so Ali Smith draws us into a beautiful, strange place where everyone is so much more than they at first appear.

There but for the was hailed as one of the best books of 2011 by Jeanette Winterson, A.S. Byatt, Patrick Ness, Sebastian Barry, Boyd Tonkin, Erica Wagner and Nick Barley.

'Dazzlingly inventive' A.S. Byatt

'Whimsically devastating. Playful, humorous, serious, profoundly clever and profoundly affecting' Guardian

'A real gem' Erica Wagner, The Times

'Eccentric, adventurous, intoxicating, dazzling. This is a novel with serious ambitions that remains huge fun to read' Literary Review

'If you liked Smith's earlier fiction, you will know that she enjoys setting up a situation before chucking in a literary Molotov cocktail then describing what happens' Sunday Express

'Wonderful, word-playful, compelling' Jeanette Winterson

'Smith can make anything happen, which is why she is one of our most exciting writers today' Daily Telegraph

'I take my hat off to Ali Smith. Her writing lifts the soul' Evening Standard

The First Person and Other Stories

Ali Smith

The First Person and Other Stories is the fourth collection of short stories by Ali Smith.

The First Person and Other Stories effortlessly appeals to our hearts, heads and funny bones. Always intellectually playful, but also very moving and funny, Smith explores the ways and whys of storytelling. In one, a middle-aged woman conducts a poignant conversation with her gauche fourteen-year-old self. In another, an innocent supermarket shopper finds in her trolley a foul-mouthed, insulting and beautiful child. Challenging the boundaries between fiction and reality, a third presents its narrator, 'Ali', as she drinks tea, phones a friend and muses on the relationship between the short story and - a nymph. Innovative, sophisticated and intelligent, the stories in The First Person and Other Stories are packed full of ideas, jokes, nuance and compassion. Ali Smith and the short story are made for each other.

'Smith's is a profoundly optimistic vision. These stories are frightening yet funny, and the sheer exuberance and playfulness of her language endows dark matters with a lightness of touch' New Statesman

'She's a genius, genuinely modern in the heroic, glorious sense' Alain de Botton

'Terrific . . . hurrah for Ali Smith . . . The best short-story writers make it look as easy as making a cup of tea. Ali Smith is one of these . . . A bold and brilliant collection of stories by a writer unafraid to give it to us as it is' Times

'A glorious collection that celebrates and subverts the short story form' Independent

Sunset Song

Lewis Grassic Gibbon (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ALI SMITH

Young Chris Guthrie lives a brutal life in the harsh landscape of northern Scotland, torn between her passion for the land, duty to her family and her love of books. When her mother, broken by repeated childbirths, takes her own life and poisons her two youngest children, Chris is left with her father to run the farm on her own. Soon she is alone, and for the first time can choose how to spend her life. But as the First World War begins, everything changes, and the young men leave Scotland for battle. The first in Gibbon's classic trilogy A Scot's Quair, Sunset Song is infused with local vernacular, and innovatively blends Scots and English in an intense description of Scottish life in the early twentieth century.

The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ALI SMITH

Katherine Mansfield's clear, sparkling and perceptive short stories revolutionized the genre, and this collection represents the whole range of her writing. Moving, resonant, full of light and colour, they range from short sharp studies to longer, richer tales, encompassing her three major volumes Bliss, The Garden Party and In a German Pension, and fifteen tantalizing fragments of unfinished stories published after her tragic death, including 'Honesty', an intriguing tale of two bachelors, and 'The Doves' Nest', an exquisite story of a widowed mother and her daughter in the Riviera who receive a mysterious gentleman caller. Graceful, delicate and quietly devastating, they observe apparently trivial incidents to create sensitive, often painful revelations of her characters' inner lives.

The Accidental

Ali Smith

The Accidental is Ali Smith's dazzling novel about a family holiday and a stranger who upends it.

Arresting and wonderful, The Accidental pans in on the Norfolk holiday home of the Smart family one hot summer. There a beguiling stranger called Amber appears at the door bearing all sorts of unexpected gifts, trampling over family boundaries and sending each of the Smarts scurrying from the dark into the light.

A novel about the ways that seemingly chance encounters irrevocably transform our understanding of ourselves, The Accidental explores the nature of truth, the role of fate and the power of storytelling.

'A beguiling page-turner. . . a brilliant creation. To read The Accidental is to be excited from first to last' Independent

'Joyous, a shot across the bows. . . writing as rapture, as giddy delight' The Times

'Brilliant and engaging, frequently hilarious. . . Smith makes one look at the world afresh' Sunday Telegraph

The Hearing Trumpet

Leonora Carrington (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ALI SMITH

A classic of fantastic literature, Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet is the occult twin to Alice in Wonderland, published with an introduction by Ali Smith in Penguin Modern Classics.

One of the first things ninety-two-year-old Marian Leatherby overhears when she is given an ornate hearing trumpet is her family plotting to commit her to an institution. Soon, she finds herself trapped in a sinister retirement home, where the elderly must inhabit buildings shaped like igloos and birthday cakes, endure twisted religious preaching and eat in a canteen overlooked by the mysterious portrait of a leering Abbess. But when another resident secretly hands Marian a book recounding the life of the Abbess, a joyous and brilliantly surreal adventure begins to unfold. Written in the early 1960s, The Hearing Trumpet remains one of the most original and inspirational of all fantastic novels.

Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was a British born Surrealist painter and writer described, alongside people such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, as one of the leading lights of the Surrealist movement. Born in Lancashire to a strict Catholic family, she first came into contact with surrealism through her lover, Surrealist painter Max Ernst, before moving to Mexico in 1942. The Hearing Trumpet, her most famous piece of writing, was first published in France in 1974.

If you enjoyed The Hearing Trumpet, you might like Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Reading The Hearing Trumpet liberates us from the miserable reality of our days'
Luis Buñuel

'One of the most original, joyful, satisfying and quietly visionary novels of the twentieth century'
Ali Smith

'This book is so inspiring...I love its freedom, its humour and how it invents its own laws. What specifically do I take from her? Her wig'
Björk

Other Stories and Other Stories

Ali Smith

Other Stories and Other Stories is a stunning collection of short stories from Ali Smith.

Individually lucid and luminous, these formally inventive and exquisite tales resonate subtly together. In examining the distances and connections between ourselves and others, and lightly and expertly inching us closer to the bone, storytelling itself has never seemed so necessary, so moving or so joyous.

'Beautifully written and quietly unsettling' Big Issue

'Bold and sensitive. Smith's prose is a joy' Independent

'A wonderful collection; deceptively easy on one level with its whirling library of ghost story, funny story, love story, scary story, and more. Like Russian dolls, separate yet invisibly linked, they unfold from and into one another' Herald

'Smith breathes life into her imagined words with a true understanding of the craft of the short-story writer. She dances surely and lightly over the form' Guardian

'Captures quiet epiphanies of the extraordinary in the mundane' Sunday Times

'These stories fizz with life' The Times Literary Supplement

Hotel World

Ali Smith

Ali Smith's masterful, ambitious Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize.

Five people: four are living, three are strangers, two are sisters, one is dead. In her highly acclaimed and most ambitious book to date, the brilliant young Scottish writer Ali Smith brings alive five unforgettable characters and traces their intersecting lives. This is a short novel with big themes (time, chance, money, death) but an eye for tiny detail: the taste of dust, the weight of a few coins in the hand, the pleasurable pain of a stone in one's shoe . . .

'Ali Smith has got style, ideas and punch. Read her' Jeanette Winterson

'An extremely readable, easy-flowing writer and one of the subtlest and most intelligent around. Hotel World is essential reading from a writer confirming herself as a major talent. . . a wonderful piece of sustained imagination' Independent

'As infectious as a pop song, the story bursts open form the very first page and demands to be read in one sitting' The Times

The Member of the Wedding

Carson McCullers (and others)

With delicacy of perception and memory, humour and pathos, Carson McCullers spreads before us the three phases of a weekend crisis in the life of a motherless twelve-year-old girl. Within the span of a few hours, the irresistible, hoydenish Frankie passionately plays out her fantasies at her elder brother's wedding. Through a perilous skylight we look into the mind of a child torn between her yearning to belong and the urge to run away.
Ali Smith

Biography

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. She is the author of Free Love and Other StoriesLikeOther Stories and Other StoriesHotel WorldThe Whole Story and Other StoriesThe Accidental, Girl Meets Boy, The First Person and Other Stories, There but for the, ArtfulHow to be both, and Public Library and other stories. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Baileys Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Folio Prize. Ali Smith lives in Cambridge and her next novel is forthcoming in 2016.