UK

Sir Alexander McCall Smith tells of plans for ‘many more books’ after knighthood

The author wrote The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and other popular fiction series.

Sir Alexander McCall Smith has been knighted
Sir Alexander McCall Smith has been knighted (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Author Sir Alexander McCall Smith has said he feels “very touched” to be knighted in the New Year Honours list.

The bestselling writer is recognised for services to literature, academia and charity.

His first book was published in 1980, however it was not until the publication of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency that his rise to fame began.

The series, set in Botswana and featuring the private detective Precious Ramotswe, has now sold more than 20 million copies in the English language alone.

Sir Alexander, an emeritus professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, is also known for series including the 44 Scotland Street novels, the Isabel Dalhousie collection, and the von Igelfeld books.

Commenting on the knighthood, he said: “This is very kind of them and I feel most honoured. Writing the books has given me great pleasure over the years and if they have been appreciated, then I am delighted.

“I would have put myself pretty low down on the list of those deserving this sort of thing, but I’m obviously very touched by this. I shall carry on doing what I currently do, which is just to act as a chronicler of others’ lives.

“I have many more books that I hope to write, as long as I’m able, and as long as the actuaries permit.

Sir Alexander was awarded an honorary degree at the University of Edinburgh in 2007
Sir Alexander was awarded an honorary degree at the University of Edinburgh in 2007 (Danny Lawson/PA)

“One thing that this development makes me do is to think of all the people in Scottish publishing whose hard work started this off and sustained it before it was taken up by London and New York too.

“We are so lucky to have such enthusiastic publishers who do so much for their authors.”

Sir Alexander, 75, was born in what was then known as Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and made Edinburgh his home after studying there.

He conceived the idea of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, now housed in Galashiels, and is also a patron of several charities including The Eric Liddell Community, a care charity and community hub in Edinburgh.

The author has written and contributed to more than 100 books including short story collections, children’s books and specialist academic titles.