Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith

The Internationally Beloved Bestselling Author

Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 80 books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children's books. But he is best known for his internationally acclaimed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which rapidly rose to the top of bestseller lists throughout the world. The fifth novel in the series, The Full Cupboard of Life, received the Saga Award for Wit in the UK. The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (November 2015) is the sixteenth book in the series, which has now been translated into 45 languages and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The first episode of a film adaptation, directed by Anthony Minghella, premiered on HBO in March 2009.

A self confessed serial novelist, McCall Smith is the author of several other series including one beginning with The Sunday Philosophy Club, about a female sleuth named Isabel Dalhousie, which appeared in 2004 and immediately leapt onto national bestseller lists. The tenth Dalhousie mystery, The Novel Habits of Happiness, was published in July of 2015. Another of McCall Smith's serial novels, 44 Scotland Street, was published in book form to great acclaim starting in 2005. Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers, the ninth book in the series, was published in 2015. Corduroy Mansions, a new serial novel series depicts the lives of the inhabitants of a large Pimlico house, was published and podcasted by the UK's Daily Telegraph, and subsequently in book form in July 2010 followed by The Dog Who Came in from the Cold and A Conspiracy of Friends. In addition, McCall Smith's delightful German professor series, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances and The Unusual Uses of Olive Oil were published in the US starting in January 2005.

He is also the author of children's books, including the Akimbo series, about a boy in Africa, the Harriet Bean books, the Max & Maddy series, and The Perfect Hamburger and other Delicious Stories. His newest children's books are based on the beloved adventures of Precious Ramotswe as a little girl and include The Great Cake Mystery and The Mystery of Meerkat Hill.

Pantheon has published Alexander McCall Smith's stand-alone novels La's Orchestra Saves the World and Trains and Lovers, The Forever Girl, and Emma a modern retelling of the classic novel, as well as a collection of African folktales, The Girl Who Married a Lion. McCall Smith is also the author of Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams, a contemporary reworking of a beloved Celtic myth, and Heavenly Date & Other Flirtations, a collection of short stories examining the mysteries of dating and courtship.

McCall Smith was born in Rhodesia (what is now Zimbabwe) and was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland, and it was in this role that he first returned to Africa to work in Botswana, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. For many years he was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a visiting professor at a number of other universities elsewhere, including ones in Italy and the United States. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh.

In addition to his university work, McCall Smith was for four years the vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the UK, the chairman of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee, and a member of the International Bioethics Commission of UNESCO. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Crime Writers' Association Dagger in the Library Award; the United Kingdom's Author of The Year Award in 2004 and Sweden's Martin Beck award. He holds honorary doctorates from 12 universities, most recently  from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. In 2007 he was made a CBE for his services to literature in the Queen's New Year Honors List. In 2010 McCall Smith was awarded the Presidential Order of Merit by the President of Botswana.

Alexander McCall Smith currently lives in Edinburgh with his wife Elizabeth (an Edinburgh doctor), and their two daughters Lucy and Emily. His hobbies include playing wind instruments, and he is the co-founder of an amateur orchestra called "The Really Terrible Orchestra" in which he plays the bassoon and his wife plays the horn.

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