Alexander McCall Smith is a British writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh.
Alexander McCall Smith short biography
R. Alexander “Sandy” McCall Smith was born on 24th August 1948 in Zimbabwe. His father was a scholar in the British colony and his mother wrote a number of unpublished manuscripts. He is the youngest of the four children and spent his early childhood in the African country. He is a Rhodesian born Scottish writer. He was educated both in Zimbabwe and in Scotland and then went to Christian Brother’s College before going to Scotland where he studied law and got himself enrolled in the University of Edinburgh, consequently receiving his PhD degree. He taught Medical law at the University of Edinburgh at one time, and is now Emeritus Professor at its School of Law. He has been a professor in various other universities in Italy and the U.S. He married Elizabeth Parry, a physician with whom he has two children, Emily and Lucy.
While teaching, he participated in a literary competition, which was divided into categories of children and adults. He won the children’s competition and published 30 books in the 1980′s and 1990′s. Although he is best known as an expert on medical ethics, he rose to success with his book series The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. He has published more than fifty books, the best being The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, The Sunday Philosophy Club, 44 Scotland Street, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, and Corduroy Mansions, which have gained a huge name in many continents around the world. Corduroy Mansions became extremely popular and has been translated into many languages. It made the New York times best seller and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement. The book’s status in the United States was quite unexpected considering its moderate humor and focus on human nature. It was also adapted as a television series and broadcasted on BBC in 2008.
Until 2002, he held the position of Chairman at the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee and the Vice-Chairman of the Human Genetics Commission in United Kingdom. He has also been a member of the UNESCO’s International Bioethics Commission. In 2004, he was awarded the British Book Award’s Author of the Year and Booksellers Association Author of the Year. His humanitarian work also includes; contributing an inspiring new story to What You Wish For, a special charitable anthology about wishes. His genre includes short stories on children, fiction and nonfiction, which are extremely diverse. In 2009, he donated his story Still Life to Oxfam’s “Ox-Tales” project, which is an amalgamation of stories by 38 authors.
Today Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh with his wife Elizabeth (an Edinburgh doctor), their two daughters Lucy and Emily, and their cat Gordon. His hobbies include playing wind instruments, and he is the co-founder of an amateur orchestra called “The Really Terrible Orchestra” in which he plays the bassoon and his wife plays the flute.