Saturday Philosophy Club
Alexander McCall Smith with Zac O’Yeah
Alexander McCall Smith
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
Zac O’Yeah is a Swedish detective novelist and author of the Majestic Trilogy, which is set in his Indian hometown Bengaluru. He has published 18 books including several fiction and nonfiction bestsellers. His Gandhi biography Mahatma! was ranked as the best nonfiction book in Sweden in 2008. His travel writings have appeared in magazines such as National Geographic Traveller, Outlook Traveller, RES and Vagabond, and also been included in a huge number of anthologies. All in all, he has written for nearly 100 different publications and he is currently a columnist with the BusinessLine newspaper. His writings have been translated into German, French, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Russian, Chinese, Italian, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Assamese and other languages. He is a founder-director of Bangalore’s World-Famous Semi-Deluxe Writing Programme, the first semi-professional writing school in India. His most recent books include the novel Tropical Detective and the travelogue A Walk Through Barygaza and the children’s book The Mystery of the Cyber Friend. In 2020, his travel story “Looking for Malgudi” was featured in the anthology The Best Asian Travel Writing. He also composes music with the pop group The Ändå whose latest hit “You!” was released in 2020. Read more on www.zacoyeah.com
* Some speakers in this session are participating virtually via Zoom.