About The Author
Since the publication of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency in 1998, Alexander McCall Smith - Sandy to his friends and fans - has become one of best-loved of contemporary authors. His magical series set in Gaborone and starring Mma Precious Ramotswe has sold over 20m copies worldwide, and have also been adapted for radio and television, the latter directed by Anthony Minghella .
Sandy has also created four other hugely popular series, 44 Scotland Street, The Sunday Philosophy Club (also known as The Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries), Corduroy Mansions and The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom (also called The Von Igelfeld novels), as well as a number of standalone books and many books for children. In 2006 he was awarded a CBE for services to literature.
Born in Rhodesia, he has a great fondness for Africa: he co-wrote what remains the only guide to the legal system of Botswana and founded the country's first centre for opera training. He has also been involved in numerous other charitable projects in Botswana and throughout the African continent. As a highly respected professor of medical law, he has served in a number of high-profile committees on medical ethics both in the UK and for UNESCO.
He is also famously a founder member of the Really Terrible Orchestra of Great Britain, created to give those without notable musical talent the opportunity to perform in public. They now perform adequately to packed houses.
His latest novel, featuring Isabel Dalhousie, is A Distant View of Everything.
As a man of diverse and prodigous talents and interests, we thought that a glimpse at his bookshelves would prove rather fascinating, so we asked Sandy to pick out some of his very favourite books and tell us why they mean so much to him. The list features classic, fiction, poetry, psychology, music and much more.