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Ali Smith, writer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Ali Smith is a Scottish writer. Born in Inverness in 1962, the youngest of five children by seven years, she says, "I grew up completely alone but with all the comforts of knowing I had a cushioning family structure around me - and yet I could free myself from it."

After reading English at Aberdeen and nearly completing a PhD at Cambridge, she started down an academic path, winning a lectureship at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, but she soon decided that academia wasn't for her.

She gave herself three years in which to make it as a writer. By then she had moved from writing poems, for which she had discovered an aptitude aged eight, to short stories.

Her first collection, Free Love and Other Stories, was published in 1995.

Since then she has written novels, including How to Be Both, and The Accidental, as well as plays. Nominated three times for the Booker Prize, her fiction has won numerous literary awards including the Goldsmiths Award, the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Available now

35 minutes

Last on

Fri 11 Nov 2016 09:00

Music Played

  • Julie Fowlis


    • My Love Is on The High Seas (Tha Mo Ghaol Air Aird A Chuain).
    • Shoeshine.
  • Dusty Springfield

    I Only Want To Be With You

    • Dusty Springfield at Her Very Best.
    • Universal.
  • Sylvie Vartan

    Par Amour, Par Pitié

    • Les Années RCA 1961-1983.
    • BMG.
  • Orange Juice

    Falling and Laughing

    • Can’t Hide Your Love Forever.
    • Polydor.
  • Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli


    • Swingin’ with Django Reinhardt.
    • Le Chant du Monde.
  • Αλίκη Βουγιουκλάκη

    To Feggaraki

    • I Soferina.
    • EMI Greece.
  • Ella Fitzgerald & The Delta Rhythm Boys

    (It’s Only a) Paper Moon

    • Classic Ella Fitzgerald 1945-1947.
    • Classics Records.

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      Symphony No. 1 in C major, op. 21

      Performer: West–Eastern Divan Orchestra. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim.
      • Beethoven for All: Symphonies 1-9.
      • Decca.

    Metamorphoses by Ovid


    Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Ali Smith
Producer Sarah Taylor


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