Fiction writer, professor, and essayist whose debut novel, White Teeth, was named by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 English-language fiction works. She has also been featured as a literary critic in Harper's Magazine.
She was born in London to an English father and a Jamaican mother, and she studied English literature at King's College, Cambridge University. She published her first novel in 2000.
She became a tenured professor in the Creative Writing Program at New York University in 2010.
She married novelist and poet Nick Laird in 2004; they became parents to children named Harvey and Katherine. Smith dedicated her third novel, On Beauty, to her husband.
She and fellow novelist, Helen Dunmore, were both recipients of the Orange Prize for Fiction.