R. Alexander "Sandy" McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE, (born 24 August 1948) is a British writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. In the late twentieth 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. He is most widely known as the creator of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. "McCall" is not a middle name: his surname is "McCall Smith".
Alexander McCall Smith was born in Bulawayo in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), where his father worked as a public prosecutor. He was educated at the Christian Brothers College before moving to Scotland 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, and published thirty books in the 1980s and 1990s.
He returned to southern Africa in 1981 to help co-found and teach law at the University of Botswana. While there, he cowrote what remains the only book on the country's legal system, The Criminal Law of Botswana (1992). He returned in 1984 to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he lives today with his wife, Elizabeth, a physician, and their two daughters Lucy and Emily (he lives close to the authors JK Rowling, Ian Rankin and Kate Atkinson.). He was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh at one time and is now Emeritus Professor at its School of Law. He retains a further involvement with the University in relation to the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In addition, to being the Honorary President of the Diagnostic Society of Edinburgh - Edinburgh’s oldest society which can trace our origins to the Dialectic Society, founded in 1787 -, where he is in regular contact with its members and occasionally holds its meeting in his Edinburgh residence...
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