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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Last modified: Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith to visit IU

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WHAT: Appearance by author Alexander McCall Smith
WHEN: April 20, 5 p.m.
WHERE: Whittenberger Auditorium at IU Bloomington

March 10, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Alexander McCall Smith, author of the best-selling serial novels The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, The Sunday Philosophy Club, 44 Scotland Street and Portuguese Irregular Verbs, will visit the Indiana University Bloomington campus April 20.

McCall Smith will give a public talk at 5 p.m. in the Whittenberger Auditorium as a guest of the College Arts and Humanities Institute, directed by Andrea Ciccarelli.

McCall Smith's United States tour coincides with a new HBO television series adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which will debut on March 29, and with the North American publication in April of the 10th novel of the series, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (Pantheon and Random House). The new novel finds the tenacious Botswana lady detective Mma Ramotswe, proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, involved in the intricate and sometimes corrupt world of Botswana football.

McCall Smith recently released the fourth installment of the 44 Scotland Street series, The World According to Bertie, which continues the humorous chronicling of the lives of the residents of an Edinburgh boardinghouse, mostly seen through the eyes of Bertie -- a wise 6-year old boy vexed by his culturally affected mother. The entire series is an unforgettable portrait of Edinburgh society.

Almost at the same time, he has published the last novel inspired by Isabel Dalhousie of the Sunday Philosophy Club series, The Comfort of a Muddy Saturday. Isabel is a moral philosopher who answers philosophical questions posed to her as editor of "The Review of Applied Ethics." But, not differently than her Botswana's counterpart Precious Ramotswe, Isabel loves solving problems of any type, and she often embroils herself in problems that should be left to the police.

McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and was educated there and in Scotland. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, where he taught medical law for many years. It was during this time, that he first returned to Africa, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. He is also involved in philanthropic organizations, including the Alliance for Rabies Control, for which he is the patron.

In addition to his university work, McCall Smith was the vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the United Kingdom for four years, the chairman of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee, and a member of the International Bioethics Commission of UNESCO. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Dagger in the Library Award, the United Kingdom's Author of the Year Award in 2004, and Sweden's Martin Beck award. In 2007, he was made a Commander in the Order of the British Empire for his services to literature.

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