Sid Smith (writer)
Sid Smith is an award-winning English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 novelist and journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...


Life and career

Smith was born in Preston, Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

, the son of a lorry driver. For seven years he worked in labouring jobs, including dustman, gravedigger
A gravedigger is a cemetery worker responsible for digging graves used in the process of burial.-Fossors:Fossor or Fossarius , from the Latin verb fodere 'to dig', referred to grave diggers in the Roman catacombs in the first three centuries of the Christian Era...

 and construction worker. Since then he has hitch-hiked 9,000 miles around the US, lived in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, acquired a pilot's licence for paragliders, and been married with full Shinto rite
A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:* rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, baptism, or graduation....

s at a shrine in Southern Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...


Smith came late to literary prominence. He had been a journalist for 17 years, including two years as a sub-editor on The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

, and was already in his 50s when his debut novel Something Like A House was published in 2001. The tale of a British deserter in China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 at the time of the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

, Something Like A House won critical praise and went on to win both the James Tait Black Award
James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Founded in 1919, the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are among the oldest and most prestigious book prizes awarded for literature written in the English language and are Britain's oldest literary awards...

 and the Whitbread First Novel Award. What was remarkable about the book was its meticulous evocation of time and place, especially since Smith had never been to China and had written the book entirely from his own research, conducted among other places in the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

. Smith says that his only previous contact with China had been a "one-hour stopover at Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 airport". He claims that "the only ticket you need is a library ticket". However, his novels portray the gritty details of manual labour, about which he may claim to be knowledgeable.

Smith's second novel, A House by the River (2003), was another adventure story set in China. His third, China Dreams (2007), has the theme of a Londoner who is obsessed with China but has never been there.

Smith is a sub-editor on The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

and writes the "Historic Homes" feature for its Friday property supplement. He lives in Islington
Islington is a neighbourhood in Greater London, England and forms the central district of the London Borough of Islington. It is a district of Inner London, spanning from Islington High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy Upper Street...

in north London.

Notable works

  • Something Like A House, 2001
  • A House by the River, 2003
  • China Dreams, 2007

External links

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