What Makes a Good Writer? (originally written by Zadie Smith)

Illustration by Garrincha

In conclusion I have tried to make a case for the special role of writer-critics, as it is in my interest to do. There is a suspicion that writers who become critics retain too much of the sentiment and mysticism of their craft to be capable of real critical thought — maybe I am evidence of that. But Roland Barthes is a good exception to that rule. He had both a sensuous understanding