Best-selling author Zadie Smith has attacked 'misogynists' who claim she is too beautiful to be a great writer.

During an interview in the UK, Ms Smith condemned the media's "ridiculous" obsession with her looks and the implicit and "sinister" suggestion that a beautiful woman cannot achieve literary greatness.

The 37-year-old, who finished her award-winning debut novel White Teeth during her final year at Cambridge University, said: "People seem to think I put those photos in the paper. I don't put them in. Photo editors put my photo in because it's the easiest thing to do, I suppose."

She added: "Some of it is just ridiculous. A friend was telling me that in an Italian newspaper they had an editorial letter about how I was probably quite a good writer.


"But I couldn't possibly be a great writer because, in their opinion, I was too attractive and when you thought about writers those things never went together."

Ms Smith went on to cite Sylvia Plath as an example of a beautiful female author before addressing "sinister" sexist attitudes.

She said: "What is fascinating about it is what it assumes.

"It is a really misogynistic and fascinating thought. Because what it means is that if you are beautiful, then you have no need to be intelligent - it is a very sinister thought actually."