Author Biography

Alexander McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe and educated both there and in Scotland. He worked as a Professor in Law in Scotland after graduating, also returning to the University of Botswana to work for several years in the Law Faculty he helped to set up there.

He retired from his post as Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh in 2005, in order to concentrate on his writing career.

He has been a visiting Professor at various other universities including in Italy and the USA. He is an international authority on genetics and advisor to UNESCO and to the British government on bioethics.

His books include many specialist titles, for example, The Criminal Law of Botswana (1992), the only book on the subject, and Forensic Aspects of Sleep (1997), again the definitive title on this area of knowledge. He has written many popular children's novels and picture books, as well as collections of short stories such as The Girl Who Married a Lion: And Other Tales From Africa (2004), based on African stories handed down to him.

In 1998, he wrote The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, a novel about Precious Ramotswe, an amateur sleuth turned professional detective in Botswana. It became the first of a series of novels which hamccallsmith_alexanderve since become extremely popular worldwide, and have been translated into many languages. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency gained two Booker Prize for Fiction Judges' Special Recommendations, made the New York Times Bestseller list and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement. It was adapted for television by Anthony Minghella and broadcast on BBC1 in 2008.  Tears of the Giraffe (2000), its sequel, was named one of The Guardian's top ten fiction books of 2000 and the fifth book in the series, The Full Cupboard of Life (2003) won the 2003 Saga Award for Wit. In 2004, Alexander McCall Smith also won the British Book Awards Author of the Year award. The latest book in the series of ten is Tea Time for the Traditionally Built(2009).

In 2004, the first of a new series of novels was published - The Sunday Philisophy Club - featuring Isabel Dalhousie, a Scottish-American Professor of moral philosophy. The second in the series, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, was published in 2005, the third, The Right Attitude to Rain, in 2006, the fourth, The Careful Use of Compliments, in 2007, and the fifth, The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, in 2008.

Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh, plays in the Really Terrible Orchestra and wrote a serial novel in daily episodes through the pages of The Scotsman newspaper entitled '44, Scotland Street'. 44 Scotland Street was published in book form in 2005, and has been followed by several other books in the same series, the latest being The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (2008). He is currently writing Corduroy Mansions in 100 episodes - a serial novel for the Telegraph website. Buy Alexander McCall Smith books from Blackwells





Power and Manoeuvrability   (edited with Tony Carty)   Q Press, 1978

So You Want to Try Drugs?   (with Fiona Foster)   Macdonald, 1980

The White Hippo   (illustrated by Michael clifford)   Hamish Hamilton, 1980

All About Drinking   (with Fiona Foster)   Macdonald, 1981

The Little Theatre   (illustrated by Peter Rush-Jansen)   Macdonald, 1982

The Perfect Hamburger   (illustrated by Laszlo Acs)   Hamilton, 1982

Law and Medical Ethics   (with J. K. Mason)   Butterworth, 1983

Y blas sy'n cyfri   (with Alwena Williams; illustrated by Lazlo Acs)   Gomer, 1983

Butterworths Medico-Legal Encyclopaedia   (with J. K. Mason)   Butterworths, 1986

On the Road   Chambers, 1987

Alix and the Tigers   (illustrated by Jon Miller)   Young Corgi Books, 1988

Film Boy   (illustrated by Joanna Carey)   Methuen Children's, 1988

Mike's Magic Seeds   Young Corgi, 1988

Children of Wax: African Folk Tales   (editor)   Canongate, 1989

Uncle Gangster   Methuen Children's, 1989

Akimbo and the Elephants   Mammoth, 1990

All about Drink and Drug Abuse   Macmillan, 1990

Family Rights: Family Law and Medical Advance   (editor with Elaine Sutherland)   Edinburgh University Press, 1990

Jeffrey's Joke Machine   (illustrated by Robert Barlett)   Blackie, 1990

Suzy's Magician   Young Corgi, 1990

The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean   (with Jean Baylis)   Blackie, 1990

The Ice-Cream Bicycle   (illustrated by Stephanie Ryder)   Viking, 1990

The Tin Dog   Young Corgi, 1990

Harriet Bean and The League of Cheats   (with Jean Baylis)   Blackie Children's, 1991

Marzipan Max   Blackie Children's, 1991

The Spaghetti Tangle   Methuen Children's, 1991

Akimbo and the Lions   (illustrated by M-Y. Low)   Methuen Children's, 1992

Calculator Annie   (illustrated by Jon Riley)   Chivers, 1992

Dementia: Consent to Research   (editor with David Nichols)   Scottish Action on Dementia, 1992

Pike Fishing in Ireland: the Social Context   Maclean Dubois, 1992

Scots Criminal Law   (with David Sheldon)   Butterworths, 1992

Springy Jane   (illustrated by E. Counsell)   Blackie, 1992

The Criminal Law of Botswana   (with Kwame Frimpong)   Juta (South Africa), 1992

The Doughnut Ring   (illustrated by Glenys Ambrus)   Hamish Hamilton, 1992

The Princess Trick   (illustrated by Katinka Kew)   Blackie Children's, 1992

Akimbo and the Crocodile man   (illustrated by M-Y. Low)   Methuen Children's, 1993

Duty to Rescue: the Jurispendence of Aid   (editor with Michael A. Menlowe)   Dartmouth, 1993

My Chameleon Uncle   (with Elke Counsell)   Blackie Children's, 1993

The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean   (with Jean Baylis)   Blackie, 1993

The Muscle Machine   (illustrated by Terry McKenna)   Hamish Hamilton, 1993

Crazy Crocs   (with Malorie Blackman)   Longman, 1994

Paddy and the Ratcatcher   (illustrated by I. Bates)   Heinemann Young Books, 1994

Teacher Trouble   Young Corgi, 1994

The Banana Machine   (illustrated by Nick Ward)   Blackie Children's, 1994

Who Invented Peanut Butter?   (illustrated by Tony Ross)   Methuen Children's, 1994

Billy Rubbish   (illustrated by Martin Chatterton)   Methuen Children's, 1995

Heavenly Date and other stories   Canongate, 1995

The Bubblegum Tree   (illustrated by Georgien Overwater)   Hippo, 1996

The Watermelon Boys   (illustrated by Lis Toft)   Viking, 1996

Bursting Balloons Mystery   (illustrated by Georgien Overwater)   Hippo, 1997

Chocolate Money Mystery   (illustrated by Georgien Overwater)   Hippo, 1997

Forensic Aspects of Sleep   (editor with Colin Shapiro)   Wiley, 1997

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency   Polygon, 1998

The Popcorn Pirates   (illustrated by Georgien Overwater)   Hippo, 1999

In the Protectorate   Maclean Dubois, 2000

Justice and the Prosecution of Old Crimes   (with Daniel Shuman)   American Psychological Association (USA), 2000

Monkey Boy   (illustrated by Tania Hurt-Newton)   Hippo, 2000

Tears of the Giraffe   Polygon, 2000

Errors, Medicine and the Law   (with Alan Merry)   Cambridge University Press, 2001

Morality for Beautiful Girls   Polygon, 2001

The Kalahari Typing School for Men   Polygon, 2002

At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances   (illustrated by Iain McIntosh)   Polygon, 2003

Portuguese Irregular Verbs   (illustrated by Iain McIntosh)   Polygon, 2003

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs   (illustrated by Iain McIntosh)   Polygon, 2003

The Full Cupboard of Life   Polygon, 2003

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies   Polygon, 2004

The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom   (contents: 'At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances'; 'Portuguese Irregular Verbs'; 'The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs')   Abacus, 2004

The Girl Who Married a Lion: And Other Tales from Africa   Polygon, 2004

The Sunday Philosophy Club   Little, Brown, 2004

44 Scotland Street   Polygon, 2005

Espresso Tales   Polygon, 2005

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate   Little, Brown, 2005

African Folk Tales: The Baboons Who Went This Way and That   (illustrated by Naomi Holwill)   Canongate, 2006

Akimbo and the Snakes   Bloomsbury, 2006

Blue Shoes and Happiness   Abacus, 2006

Dream Angus   Canongate, 2006

Love Over Scotland   Polygon, 2006

One City   (with Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh)   Polygon, 2006

The Right Attitude to Rain   Little, Brown, 2006

The Careful Use of Compleiments   Little, Brown, 2007

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive   Abacus, 2007

The World According to Bertie   Polygon, 2007

Akimbo and the Baboons   Bloomsbury, 2008

La's Orchestra Saves the World   Polygon, 2008

The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday   Little, Brown, 2008

The Miracle at Speedy Motors   Abacus, 2008

The Unbearable Light of Scones   Polygon, 2008

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built   Little, Brown, 2009