Zadie Smith to write first historical novel

Zadie Smith to write first historical novel

Zadie Smith is publishing two new books with Penguin imprint Hamish Hamilton, including her first historical novel.

The publisher's Simon Prosser struck a deal for British and Commonwealth rights in both books with Georgia Garrett at Rogers, Coleridge & White. The first book will be a collection of Smith's best short fiction from over almost two decades. The as yet unnamed title will publish in 2019, to be followed by Smith's first historical fiction, a novel called The Fraud. 

The Fraud is inspired by real events from the 1830s to the 1870s England, a time when the streets of North West London still bordered fields and Kilburn’s ‘Shoot-Up Hill’ was named for a highwayman. Its publication date has yet to be confirmed.

Prosser said: "In five extraordinary novels, from White Teeth to Swing Time, as well as in her vibrant short fiction, Zadie Smith has proved herself one of our greatest living chroniclers of the contemporary.  So it is especially thrilling that she is for the first time writing a novel set entirely in the past.  And while she is working on it I am excited that we will be able to collect, again for the first time, the very best of her many terrific short stories."

Smith commented: "I am delighted to be publishing a new novel with Hamish Hamilton, and to be collecting my short fiction for the first time. I have been with this imprint - and Simon Prosser –  since I was 24 and I feel lucky to still have this long and unbroken relationship with such a serious and innovative corner of British publishing."

Ann Godoff at Penguin Press meanwhile acquired the US rights to both books, and Nicole Winstanley at Hamish Hamilton Canada bought the Canadian rights, to publish simultaneously with Hamish Hamilton UK.