Saturday Philosophy Club
Alexander McCall Smith with Zac O’Yeah
* Some speakers in this session are participating virtually via Zoom.
Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors. For many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the UK and abroad before turning his hand to writing fiction. He has written and contributed to more than 100 books including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children’s books. His first book, The White Hippo—a children’s book, was published in 1980.
But it wasn’t until the publication of the highly successful The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series that Alexander became a household name. The series has now sold over twenty-five million copies in the English language alone, and since the books took off, he has devoted his time to writing.
His various series of books have been translated into forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the popular 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman newspaper and now the longest-running serial novel in the world; the Isabel Dalhousie novels, and the von Igelfeld series. In 2019 a new series was launched, The Detective Varg series set in Sweden. He is also the author of the CorduroyMansions series, which started life as an engaging cross-media serial written for the Telegraph online and a number of series for children.
Alexander has received numerous awards for his writing and holds honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and North America. In 2007 he received a CBE for services to literature and in 2011 was honoured by the President of Botswana for services through literature to the country. In 2015 he received the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and in 2017, The National Arts Club (of America) Medal of Honor for Achievement in Literature. In 2020 he received the Honorary Fellowship of the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.
Photo: Kirsty Anderson