Here, in book form, are four lectures given by Ali Smith at Oxford University, a tidal wave of ideas in four thematically organised bursts of thought: 'On Time', 'On Form', 'On Edge' and 'On Offer and On Reflection'. Refusing to be tied down to either fiction or the essay form, "Artful" is narrated by a character who is haunted - literally - by a former lover, the writer of a series of lectures about art and literature. Full of both the poignancy and humour of fiction and all the sideways insights and jaunty angles you would expect from Ali Smith's criticism, it explores form, style, life, love, death, mortality, immortality and what art and writing can mean. Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and the Orange prize, and winner of the Encore Award and the Arts Council Scottish Book Award, Ali Smith is one of our most interesting writers at work today. "Artful" shows her at her most innovative, warm and generous best.