Happy Birthday Ali Smith!
|Ali Smith (born August 24 1962) – Scottish fiction and nonfiction author – Winter (2017)|
Smith grew up in Inverness, the youngest, by some years, of five children, and had what she describes as “an ideal childhood”. Her parents had both left school prematurely, thrust into the world of work by the death of their parents and a shortage of money.
Her father founded a small contracting business, wiring up the houses that lined Loch Ness, including that of the writer of Ring of Bright Water, Gavin Maxwell (“He’s a bit funny, you know,” he told his daughter). Deprived of education themselves, they determinedly steered their children towards university, with the professions firmly in mind; Smith was to be a lawyer. “I knew I’d be terrible. I couldn’t argue to save myself, never mind save anybody else, and I knew there was something else I wanted to do.” She wanted to study English; her parents didn’t want her to. But there was never a row: “In a family of five, you learn to sit still as a stone sometimes, and just hold your position … there was a pressure and I exerted a similar pressure back, and at some point it was all right.”
(From the Guardian, September 6, 2014)