Author Ali Smith to be Brighton Festival director

Ali Smith Image copyright AP
Image caption Ali Smith's novel won the Goldsmiths prize and made the Booker prize shortlist

Award-winning author Ali Smith has been named as the guest director of the 2015 Brighton Festival.

The Inverness-born author won the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize for original fiction for her novel How to be Both.

She said "unexpected connection, the crossing places between the art forms" was part of her thinking for the event.

Previous guest directors have included children's author Michael Rosen, Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave and Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

'Defy genres'

Ms Smith said: "Imagine the borders between the art forms. Imagine them opened, crossed, melted, made invisible, so that poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance meets thought meets sculptural meets rhythm meets fiction meets the natural world.

Previous guest directors

  • 2009 Artist Anish Kapoor
  • 2010 Musician Brian Eno
  • 2011 Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
  • 2012 Actress/campaigner Vanessa Redgrave
  • 2013 Children's writer Michael Rosen
  • 2014 Israeli choreographer Hofesh Schechter

"I'm a fan of the unexpected connection, the crossing places between the art forms, the place where they meet, open to each other and fuse into something more."

Ms Smith's prize-winning book How to be Both focuses on the lives of a grieving teenage girl in the present day and a renaissance artist in the 1460s.

The novel was published in two versions, both with the same cover but with the main halves switched.

Festival chief executive Andrew Comben said: "At once deeply playful and deeply serious, Ali Smith brings a sensibility which perfectly mirrors the ambition of Brighton Festival - a willingness to take imaginative risks, defy genres, push boundaries and celebrate a love of art in all its infinite forms and varieties."

A full list of events taking place in venues across Brighton between 2 and 24 May will be released in February.

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