Zadie Smith (born Sadie) was born in North London to an English father and Jamaican mother. Her first novel, "White Teeth" brought Smith into the public eye even before it was published, when, in 1997, and not yet 21 years old, she was offered a six figure advance from publishers Hamish Hamilton after having read the uncompleted manuscript, for that and a future second novel. She had not at that time graduated from Cambridge University, and the judgement of the publishers turned out to be well founded when the book gained positive reviews from critics, sold over a million copies, and won several awards inclucing the Whitbread First Novel Award. Her other novels are "The Autograph Man" (2002) "On Beauty" (2005) and "NW" (2012) and "Swing Time" (2017). She teaches creative writing at the New York University.