In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel is back – and with a charming new look!

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Summer draws to a close, and Autumn is nearly upon us - it must be time to catch up on the latest events in the life of our favourite philosopher and private investigator, Isabel Dalhousie. And she’s got a whole new look for the new season . . .

In The Charming Quirks of Others  – which is out now in paperback – Isabel finds herself contemplating an act of heroic and alarming self-sacrifice.

And in just under two weeks, the new Isabel Dalhousie novel entitled The Forgotten Affairs of Youth is released, in which Isabel finds herself beset by temptation, and attempting to steer a course between love and laissez-faire. Both titles feature the brand-new cover look, which will be rolled out across all the titles in the series. Let us know what you think!

And for a fascinating glimpse of the real Edinburgh behind the Dalhousie series (and of course the Scotland Street series too) have a look at this short film of Alexander McCall Smith taking Sarah Crown from The Guardian on walking tour of his home city.

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

World Book Night 2012 – time to vote for your favourite Alexander McCall Smith book!

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World Book Night, held for the first time this year in March, was a book event like no other. The unprecedented giveaway at the heart of the nights’ activity - 20,000 people giving away 1 million specially printed copies of their favourite books (40,000 copies in all of 25 brilliant titles) – generated a huge amount of excitement up and down the country, and kick-started a nationwide conversation about what our favourite books are.

And plans are already underway for next year’s event. Readers across the UK are now being invited to submit their top ten nominations for next year’s giveaway via the World Book Night website. The interactive site enables you to discuss your favourite books, make recommendations and share your top ten with others.

All you have to do is register with the site, and choose your ten favourite books. You can also view the top 100 selections as they currently stand.

The deadline for voting finishes at the end of the month on 31st August. So, if you’d like to see The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency in the final list of 25 titles to be away next year, then get voting!

P. S – Alexander McCall Smith himself is currently choosing his own top ten titles – look out for these on the site very soon!

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Have you caught up with events at Scotland Street yet?

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The latest instalment of Alexander McCall Smith’s Scotland St series is out now in paperback and there are startling developments afoot in the lives of Edinburgh’s most eccentric – and loveable – residents!

Click here to find out more (including what young Bertie is up to now), and to read the first chapter for free click here.

And in more exciting Scotland Street news, The Scotsman newspaper has just announced that the series is to be turned into a stage play, to be perfomed at the fringe at this year’s Edinburgh festival. See here for more details.

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Get exclusive content with the Alexander McCall Smith app!

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We’re excited to announce the release of the Alexander McCall Smith iPhone app, available to download now FREE for iPhone users.

The Alexander McCall Smith smartphone app is an innovative new platform designed to bring readers closer to their favourite author.

Launched alongside the new Botswana series paperback, The Double Comfort Safari Club, the app gives readers an immersive guide to the world of Mma Ramotswe and the places and characters made famous by the books.

The app features exclusive video interviews, bonus material, character portraits, location guides, chapter samples and much more!

It also includes a random quote generator – so you can receive a daily dose of Alexander McCall Smith’s wit and wisdom to your phone!

It will be updated for each new book released in 2011, so look out for more exclusive content with the launch of The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party in March and around new releases in the Scotland St, Corduroy Mansions and Sunday Philosophy Club series later this year.

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Hackney Singers in concert with the Sedibeng Choral Society of Botswana

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The Sedibeng Choral Society from Gaberone,  Botswana journeyed to London in October last year as part of their first trip outside of Southern Africa. The trip came about as a result of a BBC Producer visiting  Botswana with Alexander McCall Smith.

The Sedibeng Choral Society

The 30 choristers inspired community choir Hackney Singers and the 600 strong audience in a dazzling joint performance in Hackney in October 2010.  They opened the musical extravaganza with a choreographed performance entitled ‘Made in Botswana’, featuring beautifully-sung traditional African music, dancing and drumming, injected with a unique sense of humour and fun that brought a bit of Botswana to Hackney.

Sedibeng Choral Society

The concert  ended with a joint performance of  traditional Botswana song  “Marabelle”, conducted by Andy Batshogile, Sedibeng Director.

The Sedibeng group have teamed up for a second time with Alexander McCall Smith’s Little Opera House and will be performing their second opera there in 2010.

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Scotland Street is Back! Return to Number 44 with The Scotsman

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All of your favourite characters from 44 Scotland Street – Bertie, Irene, Cyril, Matthew and Big Lou included – made a welcome return to the Scotsman newspaper this week, with fresh instalments starting on Monday 24 January and a weekly update due to be posted on the Scotsman website (we’ll pass on the link when it’s available!)

Don’t miss out. Read it in the paper every day and catch up with previous volumes now available in paperback (and The Importance of Being Seven in hardback).

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

In the press: Christmas words from Alexander McCall Smith

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Looking for some Christmas cheer? Alexander has written four Christmas stories this year.

You can find one in the current Christmas issue of the Reader’s Digest, one in The Big Issue (split over their two festive issues), one featuring little Bertie in The Scotsman which will appear this Saturday, 18th December, and one to make you cry in the Wall Street Journal (Europe).

Don’t miss them!

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Christmas events with Alexander McCall Smith in Dundee and St Andrews

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This weekend, Alexander McCall Smith will be making two seasonally-themed appearances:

The Dundee Xmas Lecture

6.00 p.m. on Friday 3rd December at the Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, University of Dundee.

Join Alexander McCall Smith for a warming winter’s evening of sheer entertainment as he chats to fellow novelist Jamie Jauncey.

Ticket price: free, but pre-booking required.

More info:

A Thousand Years of Christmas

8.00 pm on Saturday 4th December at the University of St Andrews Music Centre

An eclectic mix of songs, carols, poems and readings, including material specially written by author Alexander McCall Smith.

Ticket price: £12/£9/£5. Admission free with ConcertCard.

More info:

Please see the forthcoming events page of the site for more information.

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith Audio Interview Now Available via

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A reader by the name of Mary very kindly left a comment on another post to let us know that Alexander’s interview with CBC’s Shelagh Rogers, which was recorded during the Woody Point Writers’ Festival earlier this year is now available to listen to on the CBC website.

Visit to listen to the full, 50-minute interview.

And a big thank you to Mary!

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In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith to be honoured for writing ‘love-letters to Botswana’

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Alexander McCall Smith is to receive one of Botswana’s highest awards.

President Ian Khama has conferred the honour of Presidential Order of Meritorious Service (PMS) on one of the world’s favourite storytellers. The Scottish writer, who receives the award for services to Botswana, is famous throughout the world for his best-selling No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which is set in Botswana. He will travel to the country to collect the award in person, early next year.

Alexander McCall Smith’s The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency was first published by Polygon in Edinburgh in 1998, and has since been translated into more than 45 languages around the world. The book grew from a stand-alone novel into a series which now contains 11 books and which enjoys sales of more than 20 million copies in the English language alone.

These engaging books, with their gentle humour and eccentric characters, have had a major impact on tourism in Botswana and been responsible for the world-wide success of Roibos, also known as Redbush tea, the sales of which have been transformed by Mma Ramotswe’s taste for the product.

In 2008, in what turned out to be his last film, Anthony Minghella adapted and produced the novels for television, filming in Botswana. The film, starring the American jazz singer and actress, Jill Scott, was financed by the Weinstein Company and the BBC with the support of the Republic of Botswana. The following year, BBC television and HBO made a drama series to follow-on from the world-wide success of the film and books.

President Khama is the President of Botswana and the Paramount Chief of the Bamangwato tribe. The 57 year-old president is the son of Seretse Khama, the country’s President from 1966 to 1980.

Other awardees include: Bill and Melinda Gates who, through their foundation, partnered with the Botswana government and the Merck Foundation, support Botswana’s response to HIV and AIDS; Merck Foundation chairman, Richard Clark; Bob and Sara Rothschild, who through their foundation are building two libraries per annum over a 10-year period.

Alexander commented: “I am delighted to have received this honour. I had not expected it and I am very touched by this gesture from the government of Botswana. I have the highest respect for the country and its people. If my books have helped to correct a negative image of Africa then I am very happy that this is the case.”

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Forthcoming Events

  • Forthcoming Events

    • Fri, 24 April 2015 -
      Alexander McCall Smith at Aye Write
    • Sat, 25 April 2015 -
      Edinburgh City Reads event
    • Tue, 28 April 2015 -
      Afternoon Tea with Moffat Books

    For a full list of forthcoming events, please see the Forthcoming Events page of the site.

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