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Zadie Smith On Balancing Motherhood And A Writing Career

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Can’t Have It All” article has re-ignited the conversation about working mothers and their quest to obtain balance in all areas of their lives. Some argue that Slaughter’s perspective (as a former State Department employee turned tenured Princeton professor) reeks of privilege, while others simply admit that she makes valid points about the difficulty of proving yourself both on the job and in your home. 

The Wall Street Journal caught up with 2006 Anisfield-Wolf winner Zadie Smith at the Book Expo and talked to her a bit about how she sees her career these days, as she has a two-and-a-half year old daughter and an upcoming book to promote. How does she balance the two? 

Smith said: 

It’s not always easy but I think one way you can make it easier is just doing the essential things and nothing else. I’m not in a great passion to run around the country for three weeks, you know? I’d rather be at home.

But actually writing fits fairly well with motherhood. I’m in the house all the time, which helps. You can set your hours. I suppose the hard thing for a child is the sense that your mother is often thinking about something else. In the downtime between novels you have to demonstrate that you’re also thinking of your family. I’m trying to do it now.

Read the rest of the interview here

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