Zadie Smith on the Failure of the Craft Talk

"That Crafty Feeling," a lecture Zadie Smith gave to Columbia's writing program back in 2008 and that was published in Believer Magazine, is a craft talk that is surprisingly anti-craft, yet full of helpful tips and cutting prose.

Smith's meditation on craft talks is wonderfully self-aware and her advice will leave you with plenty to chew on.

"Reading about craft is like listening to yourself breathe. Writing about craft prompts a self–consciousness so acute one forgets how to exhale altogether. It’s clear to me that James, or any good academic or critic, will be able to tell you far more about craft than I can, and do so with more clarity, more utility, not to mention a lot less anxiety. The question how does fiction work? is an answerable one. The question how do you write fiction? isn’t really, not without becoming a little fraudulent in the answering of it."


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