Ali Smith is one of our most interesting writers, pulling off the neat trick of being consistently innovative and experimental, while remaining compulsively readable: ‘It is what one hopes for in a modern novel, and yet it confounds all expectations. It is complex. It is beautiful. It is exhilarating. It is fiction at its most artful’ wrote The Financial Times of The Accidental, winner of the 2005 Whitbread Novel Award.
Smith came to the shop to celebrate her latest book, There but for the, in which a stranger who has been brought to a dinner party by a friend of a friend unexpectedly locks himself in a bedroom and refuses to come out. Smith uses this unusual but somehow entirely believable dilemma to explore the hazards of living with others, and the necessity of finding a place for silence in the hurly-burly of contemporary life. At the event she gave a reading from There but for the, followed by a discussion of her work with the audience.