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

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 24 Jun 2005 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestAlexander McCall Smith

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes


Desert island discs 75th anniversary 1920x1080

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs at 75 1920x1080

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?