How We Met: Zadie Smith & Arthur Bradford ; 5,6 Down's Syndrome and Other Disabilities and His Film on the Subject, How's Your News?, Will Be Released Next Spring. He Lives in Vermont. the Author Zadie Smith, 25, Caused a Sensation with Her Debut Novel, White Teeth. She Has since Written Short Piece
Husband, Interviews Stuart, The Independent (London, England)
Arthur Bradford We met at a McSweeney's reading in Boston. I'd heard of Zadie - White Teeth was out, and she was this hot young literary star. I'd seen a picture of her in a magazine and thought "Wow, I'd really like to meet her." It was a big reading in an old movie theatre with, like, 400 people there, including lots of Dave Eggers groupies. It was just after I'd started playing guitar while I read on stage to make the whole thing less dry and more physical. I'd sometimes smash it up if I got real excited, and I was wondering how to top that, so I had brought two guitars with me, and I was writing a story long enough so I'd have time to smash both up if I wanted. I was still kind of fine-tuning this story backstage, and Zadie thought it was kind of lame that I was so last- minute about it.
She was a real phenomenon in the States, and all the highbrow literary people embraced her. But she seemed so hip and cool I wanted to hang out with her more. There was another McSweeney's reading in Amsterdam and that's where we got to spend time together. She said she really liked my stuff and it's nice to get support from other writers. She takes writing really seriously, which I think is great. I didn't really have writer friends before Zadie and Dave. Most of my friends didn't even know I wrote stuff.
My writing style is very different from Zadie's. I write these tiny, simple stories about dog-people and freaks that function more on a pure entertainment level, while hers is very dense and more classic, I suppose. I'd like to acquire some of her literariness, though I'm not sure if she's so keen on taking anything from me. But there is a kinship there. We're both interested in saying something about current culture. In the same way that movies and music are considered part of what's going on right now, we think writing should be up there too. Also, we have a similar dry sense of humour. We laugh a lot and we like things to be entertaining. We don't think it should be a burden for people to sit through these readings. I'll write female characters and she'll sort of "play" them in the stories. And she's a really good singer, so we've worked out a few songs together to break up the readings. We do a few cover versions, but our tastes are way apart and it's hard to find a meeting point. I like hard rock, AC/DC and stuff, and she likes funky, jazzy show tunes. So we've compromised on Destiny's Child and Britney Spears. It'll perhaps be a good fallback option if book sales dry up.
It's a big favour for Zadie to do readings with me in Britain, because I'm not very well known here. I would say Zadie and I are now real close friends. She has a boyfriend and stuff, so we're not dating, but we talk or e-mail a lot. And yeah, she's younger and more attractive than me, but I'm taller. That's one reason she likes me, actually. She's tall too, so she likes it when people are taller than her.
Zadie Smith I got off the plane and Dave Eggers drove me straight to this beautiful Boston theatre. There were seven or eight of us backstage, and I saw this tall guy tuning his guitar and …
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Publication information: Article title: How We Met: Zadie Smith & Arthur Bradford ; 5,6 Down's Syndrome and Other Disabilities and His Film on the Subject, How's Your News?, Will Be Released Next Spring. He Lives in Vermont. the Author Zadie Smith, 25, Caused a Sensation with Her Debut Novel, White Teeth. She Has since Written Short Piece. Contributors: Husband, Interviews Stuart - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 25, 2001. Page number: 5,6. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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