Monday, October 12, 2009

Alexander McCall Smith, Author Biographies

Alexander McCall Smith (nicknamed Sandy) was born on August 24, 1948 in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. Back then it was a British colony, and now is named Zimbabwe. His education was at Christian Brothers College. He moved to Scotland where he attended the University of Edinburgh to study law. He later moved to Botswana, Africa to help set up a law school and teach at the University of Botswana.

After Alexander returned to Edinburgh he married Elizabeth, a physician. They have two daughters. Back at the University of Edinburgh he became a professor of medical law and is now an Emeritus Professor.

Alexander says that he submitted his first manuscript when he was eight years old and was kindly rejected. When he was 28 years old, he had his first book, a children’s novel, published. He says that he wrote around 30 children’s books, but he was disappointed to be only moderately successful. He was told that his writing style was too gentle and whimsical.

Then he began writing short stories, some to be broadcast on the BBC and even wrote a radio play. Then he started writing some Botswana stories. Alexander McCall Smith’s career took a dramatic turn when he published “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”, which was intended to be a series of very short stories but turned into a series of novels. Now he has three more series and several stand alone novels.

Alexander and his wife started “The really Terrible Orchestra”, which he says is a truly amateur orchestra. He is a bassoonist. He said they have played on NPR and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Alexander also cofounded the “No. 1 Ladies’ Opera House”, an opera training center in Botswana.

Alexander says he always wears a kilt to his book signings. In Scotland kilts are worn for special occasions and his book signings are special occasions.


The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series:
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Book 1) (1998)
Morality for Beautiful Girls (2001)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002)
The Full Cupboard of Life (2004)
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (2004)
Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006)
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (2007)
The Miracle at Speedy Motors (2008)
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel (2009)

The 2 ½ Pillars of Wisdom Series:
Portuguese Irregular Verbs (2003)
The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs (2003)
At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances (2003)
The Sunday Philosophy Club Series: AKA Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries
The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries) (2004)
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (2005)
The Right Attitude of Rain (2006)
The Careful Use of Compliments (2007)
The Lost Art of Gratitude: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (2009)

44 Scotland Street Series:
44 Scotland Street (2005)
Espresso Tales (2005)
Love over Scotland (2006)
The World According to Bertie (2007)

Other Novels:
Children of Wax: African Folk Tales (1991)
Heavenly Date: And Other Flirtations (1995)
The Girl Who Married a Lion: And Other Tales from Africa (2004)

Stand Alone Novels:
La's Orchestra Saves the World: A Novel (2008)
Corduroy Mansions (2008)

Children’s Books:
The Perfect Hamburger (1984)
Alix and the Tigers (1988)
The Tin Dog (1990)
Calculator Annie (1991)
The Popcorn Pirates (1991)
Akimbo and the Lions (1992)
The Doughnut Ring
Akimbo and the Crocodile Man (1993)
Paddy and the Rat Catcher (1994)
The Muscle Machine (1995)
The Bubblegum Tree (1996)
Bursting Balloons Mystery (1997)
The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean (1997)
Chocolate Money Mystery (1999)
Teacher Trouble (2000)
Akimbo and the Elephants (2005)
Dream Angus (2006)
Akimbo and the Snakes (2006)
Akimbo and the Baboons (2008)

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