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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


He published his first book - a children's book at the age of 28, went on to publish 40 more books, then he introduced 'PRECIOUS' - the founder of the first ladies detective agency in Botswana to readers in Britian. It all started as a short story which grew into a set of stories, then a novel and quite simply changed its creator's and readers lives forever.

At last count, the series boasted more than six million copies in print and that's in English alone! It earned two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement

To think it all started when the distinguished Professor of Medical Law and best selling novelist Alexander McCall Smith saw a woman chasing a chicken around her yard in Botswana. The woman became the inspiration for the series. Though the author has admitted it took 15 long years from the time he saw her to bringing her alive in print. A lesson to be learnt in character building.

Interestingly enough The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series was first published by Polygon, a small Edinburgh-based publishing house. There was no major marketing campaign, word-of-mouth took it everywhere and it became the phenomenon it is today.

The gentle Professor has since given up Medical Law to write full time and he's back with Blue Shoes and Happiness. Intense delight pervades as he re-visits Singapore. Hear him at the Arts House on Tuesday, the 15th. Too precious a talk to be missed.

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