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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.
WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
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
'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
© Ali Smith 2014 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
Ali Smith’s literary career has been one of impressive breadth and versatility. Whether you've already read some of her writing or you're new to her work, this is our essential guide on which of her books to pick up next.
The How to be Both author tells Nihal Arthanayake about her process in the latest episode. Here are some tips to take away.