Acclaimed Edinburgh-basedf author Alexander McCall Smith is a professor of Medical Law and a prolific fiction writer. He has written over fifty books. It is, however, with the fictional character Ma-Ramotswe that his name is most readily associated. Ma-Ramotswe is the protagonist in McCall Smith's Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, which comprises six novels to date. The seventh and last in the series, Blue Shoes and Happiness, is to be released in 2006. The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series is widely read in thirty-two languages across the world. The novels are set in Botswana, where McCall Smith was previously in the Department of Law at the University of Botswana. The author retains a strong relationship with the country and its people. In July 2004, Alexander McCall Smith visited Gaborone, Botswana, to begin work on adapting The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series into a film.
In this interview with Pinkie Mekgwe, McCall Smith talks about the importance of creating a character who represents "all that is fine in the human condition" in an era and geopolitical space where nihilism reigns. The author opens up on his life, work, awards, and future possibilities.