Alexander McCall Smith's Headshot

Alexander McCall Smith

- Panelist Blurb

Best known for his internationally acclaimed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 60 books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children's books.

McCall Smith's best selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series has been translated into 39 languages and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide. A film adaptation is currently in production in Africa.

Another series, about a female sleuth, begins with The Sunday Philosophy Club; 44 Scotland Street is the first title of a series that focuses on the residents of said street; another series centers on a delightful German professor, the first title of that series is Portuguese Irregular Verbs.

McCall Smith is also the author of The Celtic God of Dreams, a contemporary reworking of a beloved Celtic myth; a collection of African folktales, and many, many children's books, including the Akimbo series about a boy in Africa, and the Harriet Bean books.

McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland and then 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 in Italy and the United States.

In addition to his university work, McCall Smith was 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's Dagger in the Library Award, the United Kingdom's Author of The Year Award in 2004 and Sweden's Martin Beck Award. In 2007 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to literature.

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; he is the co-founder of an amateur orchestra called "The Really Terrible Orchestra" in which he plays the bassoon.

NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from May 1, 2008.