Ali Smith is a Scottish author, playwright, academic and journalist who has extensively written both short stories, fictions, and plays, including Hotel World (2002); Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis (The Myths) (2009); There But For The: A Novel (2012). "She is at the forefront of the literary realm and like Dickens, Smith’s novels speak of the time and comment on current political climates. They are experimental, with winding passages of prose that sometimes slips into poetry" (H. Kennedy). Her books have won and been shortlisted for many awards. Her recent publications include How To Be Both (2014), winner of the Goldsmiths and Baileys Prize and the Costa Book Award for Best Novel; a collection of short stories, Public Library (2015), and as part of  the Seasonal Quartet, a series of stand-alone novels, separate but interconnected (as the seasons are), wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories: Autumn (2016), Winter (2017), and Spring (2019). Like Smith's earlier novels Hotel World (2001), The Accidental (2005) and How to Be Both, (2014), Autumn was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

ICATA 2019 Presentation: Her novel How to be both (Penguin, 2014, Italian Edition L’una e l’Altra, BIGSUR Edizioni, 2016) will be the key-element in her participation at the ICATA 8th Conference in Ferrara where she will read and converse on-stage about the novel. The story is told from two perspectives: those of George, a 16-year-old girl living in contemporary Cambridge, and Francesco del Cossa, an Italian renaissance artist from Ferrara (Ferrara, 1436 – Bologna, 1478) responsible for painting a series of frescoes in the 'Hall of the Months' at the Palazzo Schifanoia (translated as the 'Palace of Not Being Bored' in the novel) in Ferrara, Italy.

How to Be Both "is an eloquent challenge to the binary notions governing our existence. [...] Smith's characters revel in surprising us – George has a boy's name but is a girl whose sexuality is only just being explored; Francesco is born a girl but binds her chest and lives as a man. When Francesco is taken to a brothel by a male friend, the artist declines to sleep with the prostitute but draws her instead. When, centuries later, George and her mother study del Cossa's frescoes they cannot tell who is male and who is female. In the end, they decide it doesn't matter. And when Francesco sees George for the first time, she assumes George is a boy, only to discover later that she had been mistaken."

The book has been shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (winner), and the Folio Prize. It was the winner of the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize and of the Novel Award in the 2014 Costa Book Awards.