• Birth—August 24, 1948
• Where—Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
• Education—Christian Brothers College; Ph.D., University
• Honors—Commandre of the Order of the British Empire
(CBE); Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE
• Currently—lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Alexander (R.A.A.) "Sandy" McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE, is a Rhodesian-born Scottish writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. In the late 20th century, McCall Smith became a respected expert on medical law and bioethics and served on British and international committees concerned with these issues. He has since become internationally known as a writer of fiction. He is most widely known as the creator of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
Alexander McCall Smith was born in Bulawayo, in what was then Southern Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe. His father worked as a public prosecutor in what was then a British colony. He was educated at the Christian Brothers College before moving to Scotland to study law at the University of Edinburgh, where he received his Ph.D. in law.
He soon taught at Queen's University Belfast, and while teaching there he entered a literary competition: one a children's book and the other a novel for adults. He won in the children's category, and published thirty books in the 1980s and 1990s.
He returned to southern Africa in 1981 to help co-found and teach law at the University of Botswana. While there, he cowrote what remains the only book on the country's legal system, The Criminal Law of Botswana (1992).
He returned in 1984 to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he lives today with his wife, Elizabeth, a physician, and their two daughters Lucy and Emily. He was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh at one time and is now Emeritus Professor at its School of Law. He retains a further involvement with the University in relation to the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
He is the former chairman of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee (until 2002), the former vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the United Kingdom, and a former member of the International Bioethics Commission of UNESCO. After achieving success as a writer, he gave up these commitments.
He was appointed a CBE in the December 2006 New Year's Honours List for services to literature. In June 2007, he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws at a ceremony celebrating the tercentenary of the University of Edinburgh School of Law.
He is an amateur bassoonist, and co-founder of The Really Terrible Orchestra. He has helped to found Botswana's first centre for opera training, the Number 1 Ladies' Opera House, for whom he wrote the libretto of their first production, a version of Macbeth set among a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta.
In 2009, he donated the short story "Still Life" to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project—four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. McCall Smith's story was published in the Air collection. (From Wikipedia.)
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