Alexander McCall Smith
|Alexander McCall Smith|
|Born||R. Alexander McCall Smith
24 August 1948
Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia
|Education||Christian Brothers College, Bulawayo|
|Alma mater||University of Edinburgh|
|Genre||Fiction, Crime fiction, Children's books, Academic non-fiction|
R. Alexander "Sandy" McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE (born 24 August 1948), is a British writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. In the late 20th century, McCall Smith became a respected expert on medical law and bioethics and served on British and international committees concerned with these issues.
He has since become internationally known as a writer of fiction, with sales of English language versions exceeding 40 million by 2010 and translations into 46 languages. He is most widely known as the creator of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. "McCall" is not a middle name: his surname is "McCall Smith".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Professional career
- 4 Author
- 5 Bibliography
- 5.1 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
- 5.2 44 Scotland Street series
- 5.3 The Sunday Philosophy Club series
- 5.4 Corduroy Mansions series
- 5.5 Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainments series
- 5.6 Other novels
- 5.7 Short stories
- 5.8 Children's novels
- 5.9 Academic texts
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Alexander McCall Smith was born in Bulawayo in 1948 in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), where his father worked as a public prosecutor. He was educated at the Christian Brothers College before moving to Scotland to study law at the University of Edinburgh, where he earned his PhD in law. He soon taught at Queen's University Belfast, and while teaching there he entered a literary competition: one a children's book and the other a novel for adults. He won in the children's category.
He settled in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1984. He and his wife Elizabeth, a physician, bought a Victorian mansion that they renovated and restored, raising their two daughters Lucy and Emily. They lived in the same home in 2010. In the Merchiston area of Edinburgh, he lives close to the authors J. K. Rowling, Ian Rankin and Kate Atkinson.
He is an amateur bassoonist, and co-founder of The Really Terrible Orchestra. He has helped to found Botswana's first centre for opera training, the Number 1 Ladies' Opera House, for whom he wrote the libretto of their first production, a version of Macbeth set among a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta.
He is the author of a testimonial in The Future of the NHS (2006).
In 2014 it was reported that McCall Smith had purchased the Cairns of Coll, a remote, uninhabited chain of Scottish islands in the Hebrides. He said, "I intend to do absolutely nothing with them, and to ensure that, after I am gone, they are held in trust, unspoilt and uninhabited, for the nation. I want them kept in perpetuity as a sanctuary for wildlife – for birds and seals and all the other creatures to which they are home.” 
He returned to southern Africa in 1981 to help co-found and teach law at the University of Botswana. While there, he co-wrote what remains the only book on the country's legal system, The Criminal Law of Botswana (1992).
He was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and is now Emeritus Professor at its School of Law. He retains a further involvement with the University in relation to the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
He is the former chairman of the Ethics Committee of the British Medical Journal (until 2002), the former vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the United Kingdom, and a former member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO. After achieving success as a writer, he gave up these commitments. He was appointed a CBE in the New Year's Honours List issued at the end of December 2006 for services to literature. In June 2007, he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws at a ceremony celebrating the tercentenary of the University of Edinburgh School of Law. In June 2015 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at a graduation ceremony at the University of St Andrews.
McCall Smith is a prolific author of fiction, with several series to his credit. He writes at a prodigious rate: "Even when travelling, he never loses a day, turning out between 2,000 and 3,000 words [a day] – but more like 5,000 words when at home in Edinburgh. His usual rate is 1,000 words an hour." He has gained the most fame for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe and Gaborone, Botswana. The first novel was published in 1998. In 2009, the success of that series was described in The Telegraph: "the staggering success of his Botswanan novels in the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series – they have sold more than 20 million copies in English editions alone and been translated into 40 languages". A further description of his readers, his fans is in strong words: "To say McCall Smith is a literary phenomenon doesn’t quite describe what has happened. He has become more of a movement, a worldwide club for the dissemination of gentle wisdom and good cheer."
According to his publisher in Edinburgh, Polygon (an imprint of Birlinn Books), "He was, until 2005, a professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, but gave up the position to concentrate on his writing and now writes full time."
He published 30 books in the 1980s and 1990s before he began the series that has brought him the world's notice. In 2008 he wrote a serialized online novel Corduroy Mansions, with the audio edition read by Andrew Sachs made available at the same pace as the daily publication. He wrote more than ten chapters ahead of publication, finding the experience of serialized publication to be "a frightening thing to create a novel while his readers watched. 'I am like a man on a tightrope.'"
In 2009 he donated the short story Still Life to Oxfam's "Ox-Tales" project, comprising four collections of stories written by 38 British authors. McCall Smith's story was published in the "Air" collection.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
- 1998: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
- 2000: Tears of the Giraffe
- 2001: Morality for Beautiful Girls
- 2002: The Kalahari Typing School for Men
- 2003: The Full Cupboard of Life
- 2004: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (also known as: The Night-Time Dancer)
- 2006: Blue Shoes and Happiness
- 2007: The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
- 2008: The Miracle at Speedy Motors
- 2009: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
- 2010: The Double Comfort Safari Club
- 2011: The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
- 2012: The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
- 2013: The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
- 2014: The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café
- 2015: The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine
- 2016: Precious and Grace
44 Scotland Street series
- 2005: 44 Scotland Street
- 2005: Espresso Tales
- 2006: Love Over Scotland
- 2007: The World According to Bertie
- 2008: The Unbearable Lightness of Scones
- 2010: The Importance of Being Seven
- 2011: Bertie Plays The Blues
- 2012: Sunshine on Scotland Street
- 2013: Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers
- 2015: The Revolving Door of Life
- 2016: The Bertie Project
The Sunday Philosophy Club series
also known as Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries
- 2004: The Sunday Philosophy Club
- 2005: Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
- 2006: The Right Attitude to Rain
- 2007: The Careful Use of Compliments
- 2008: The Comfort of Saturdays (UK title) or: The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday (American title)
- 2009: The Lost Art of Gratitude
- 2010: The Charming Quirks of Others
- 2011: The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
- 2012: The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (released 23 Oct 2012 in UK)
- 2015: The Novel Habits of Happiness
- 2017: A Distant View of Everything (released 23 Mar 2017 in UK)
Corduroy Mansions series
- 2009: Corduroy Mansions
- 2009: The Dog Who Came in from the Cold (published online daily in serial form; also published as a hardcover book on 1 May 2010)
- 2011: A Conspiracy of Friends
Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainments series
- 1997: Portuguese Irregular Verbs 
- 2003: The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs
- 2003: At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances
- 2004: The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom – An omnibus edition of the first three von Igelfeld titles
- 2011: Unusual Uses for Olive Oil
- 2008: La's Orchestra Saves the World
- 2012: Trains and Lovers
- 2014: The Forever Girl
- 2014: Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party
- 2015: Emma: A Modern Retelling
- 2016: My Italian Bulldozer
- 2011: "The Strange Story of Bobby Box" (published in the young adult anthology: What You Wish For)
- 1991: Children of Wax: African Folk Tales
- 1995: Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations
- 2004: The Girl Who Married a Lion and Other Tales from Africa
- 2015: Chance Developments: Unexpected Love Stories
- 1980: The White Hippo
- 1984: The Perfect Hamburger
- 1988: Alix and the Tigers
- 1990: The Tin Dog
- 1991: Calculator Annie
- 1991: The Popcorn Pirates
- 1992: The Doughnut Ring
- 1994: Paddy and the Ratcatcher
- 1995: The Muscle Machine
- 1996: The Bubblegum Tree
- 1997: The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean
- 2000: Teacher Trouble
- 2006: Dream Angus
- 2016: Freddie Mole, Lion Tamer
School Ship Tobermory
- 1992: Akimbo and the Lions
- 1993: Akimbo and the Crocodile Man
- 2005: Akimbo and the Elephants
- 2006: Akimbo and the Snakes
- 2008: Akimbo and the Baboons
- 1993: The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean
- 1990: The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean
- 1991: Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats
Max & Maddy
- 1997: Max & Maddy and the Bursting Balloons Mystery
- 1999: Max & Maddy and the Chocolate Money Mystery
Young Precious Ramotswe
- 2010: Precious and the Puggies (republished in 2011 as: Precious and the Monkeys)
- 2012: Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill
- 2012: The Great Cake Mystery
- 2013: Precious and the Missing Lion
- 2015: Precious and the Zebra Necklace
- 1978: Power and Manoeuvrability (with Tony Carty)
- 1983: Law and Medical Ethics (with J. Kenyon Mason) (this text has gone through several editions: an eighth, by Mason and Graeme Laurie, was published in 2010; McCall Smith contributed to the first six editions)
- 1987: Butterworths Medico-Legal Encyclopaedia (with J. Kenyon Mason)
- 1990: Family Rights: Family Law and Medical Advances (with Elaine Sutherland)
- 1991: All About Drink and Drug Abuse (educational text)
- 1992: The Criminal Law of Botswana (with Kwame Frimpong)
- 1993: The Duty to Rescue (with Michael Menlowe, 1993)
- 1992: Scots Criminal Law (with David H Sheldon, second edition published 1997)
- 1997: Forensic Aspects of Sleep (with Colin Shapiro)
- 2000: Justice and the Prosecution of Old Crimes (with Daniel W. Shuman)
- 2001: Errors, Medicine and the Law (with Alan Merry)
- 2003: A Draft Criminal Code for Scotland (with Eric Clive, Pamela Ferguson and Christopher Gane)
- 2004: Creating Humans: Ethical Questions where Reproduction and Science Collide (collected lectures, audio recordings)
- Philby, Charlotte (19 June 2010). "Alexander McCall Smith: The No1 novelist's guide to Edinburgh". The Independent. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Grice, Elizabeth (13 March 2009). "Alexander McCall Smith talks about 'Corduroy Mansions' – interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
To say McCall Smith is a literary phenomenon doesn't quite describe what has happened.
- McCall Smith, Alexander. "A. McCall Smith (McCallSmith) on Twitter". Twitter.com. Twitter.com. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- "McCall Smith praises inspiration of islands". The Herald Scotland. 13 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- Hunter, Jeffrey W. (2009). Contemporary Literary Criticism. Detroit, Michigan: Gale. ISBN 978-1-4144-1944-2.
- Nicoll, Ruaridh (2 May 2004). "Handy Sandy". The Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
- Rankin, Ian. "Alexander McCall Smith". No. 1 Magazine, Scotland's Glamorous Glossy. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Unknown". Times. (Subscription required (. ))
- McCall Smith, Alexander (21 June 2008). "How a dusty Botswana garage became the No 1 Ladies' Opera House, by author McCall Smith". Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- on YouTube
- "The Okavango Macbeth". Goodmusic. 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- Tempest, Michelle (2006). The Future of the NHS. ISBN 1-85811-369-5. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "McCall Smith vows to give Cairns of Coll back". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- Frimpong, Kwame; McCall Smith, Alexander (1992). The Criminal Law of Botswana. South Africa: Juta Publishers. ISBN 978-0702126703. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "New Year Honours—United Kingdom". The London Gazette. 29 December 2006. Retrieved 3 January 2009.[dead link]
- "Alexander McCall Smith". Birlinn. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- Oxfam: Ox-Tales
- Maclean Dubois; 1st Edition (1997) Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Scots language translation by James Robertson
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alexander McCall Smith|
- Prof. Alexander McCall Smith's homepage at the Law School, University of Edinburgh
- Author's homepage at Random House
- Author's homepage at Polygon & Birlinn Limited
- Author's homepage at Little, Brown
- Alexander McCall Smith on Internet Movie Database
- Alexander McCall Smith at British Council: Literature
- Alexander McCall Smith interviewed on Conversations from Penn State
- Write TV Public Television Interview with Alexander McCall Smith
- Interview with the author at Powells.com.