Alexander McCall Smith
R. Alexander "Sandy" McCall Smith (born 24 August 1948), is a British 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, with sales of English language versions exceeding 40 million by 2010 and translations into 46 languages. He is most widely known as the creator of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series."McCall" is not a middle name: his two-part surname is "McCall Smith".
Alexander McCall Smith was born in Bulawayo in 1948 in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), the youngest of four children. His father worked as a public prosecutor in Bulawayo. McCall Smith was educated at the Christian Brothers College in Bulawayo before moving to Scotland at age 17 to study law at the University of Edinburgh, where he earned his PhD 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.
He returned to southern Africa in 1981 to help co-found the law school and teach law at the University of Botswana. While there, he co-wrote what remains the only book on the country's legal system, The Criminal Law of Botswana (1992).
He was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and is now Emeritus Professor at its School of Law. He retains a further involvement with the University in relation tothe James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
He is the former chairman of the Ethics Committee of the British Medical Journal (until 2002), the former vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the United Kingdom, and a former member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO. After achieving success as a writer, he gave up these commitments. He was appointed a CBE in the New Year's Honours List issued at the end of December 2006 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. In June 2015 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at a graduation ceremony at the University of St Andrews.