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Alexander McCall Smith

Sue Lawley's castaway is writer Alexander McCall Smith.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the author Alexander McCall Smith. Alexander McCall Smith was an established professor of law, an expert on ethics and a part time musician when, at the age of 50, he wrote the book that turned his life on its head. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency became a word of mouth best-seller. He has now written a series of books featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe, a 'traditionally built' Botswanan woman who spends as much time dealing with the trials of everyday life as solving crime. Her cases have included absent husbands, imposter fathers and missing children - all resolved using common sense and underpinned with a strong sense of the importance of traditional African social values.

Alexander McCall Smith's fascination with, and devotion to, Africa is not surprising - he was born and brought up in Zimbabwe - then Southern Rhodesia - only moving to Britain when he began his legal studies. He visits Botswana every year. Even as a child he was a keen writer, and he was a published author for many years before he devised his most celebrated creation. His books are now printed in more than 30 languages and in 2004 he was named the Booksellers' Association Author of the Year.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Soave sia il Vento
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Book: Collection by W H Auden
Luxury: A handmade pair of shoes

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 24 Jun 2005 09:00

Music Played

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  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Soave sia il vento (from Cosi fan tutte)

      Soloist: Kiri te Kanawa, Ann Murray and Ferruccio Furlanetto Orchestra: The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: James Levine

      • Cosi fan Tutte.
      • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Paul Robeson

    Mah Lindy Lou

    • 25 Sweethearts of Yesteryear.
    • ASV.
  • Helen McArthur

    My Jo

    • Robert Burns Collection: The Songs.
    • Lismore.
  • John Ireland

    Greater Love hath No Man

    Soloist: Nicholas Price and Charles Gibbs Choir: The Choir of St Paul's Cathedral Conductor: John Scott

    • The English Anthem - Vol 1.
    • Hyperion.
  • Dooley Wilson

    As Time Goes By

    Artist: Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman

    • Soundtrack to Casablanca.
    • Premier Soundtracks.
  • Gabriel Fauré

    Sanctus (from Requiem)

    Soloist: Elisabeth Brasseur Orchestra: Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire

    • Faurés Requiem.
    • EMI.
  • W. H. Auden

    On the Circuit

    • Poetry International '69.
    • Argo.
  • Planxty

    West Coast of Clare

    • Planxty.
    • Polydor.
  • Book Choice

    • Collection - W H Auden

  • Luxury Choice

    • A handmade pair of shoes


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Alexander McCall Smith


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