Internationally-acclaimed author Alexander McCall Smith delights bookshop audience in Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 15:15 04 October 2017

Alexander McCall Smith was interviewed at Harts Bookshop in Saffron Walden by Jo Burch from the Words in Walden Festival

Alexander McCall Smith was interviewed at Harts Bookshop in Saffron Walden by Jo Burch from the Words in Walden Festival

Saffron Photo 2017

Internationally-acclaimed and best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith paid a visit to Saffron Walden today for a talk at Hart’s Books.

Alexander McCall Smith was interviewed at Harts Bookshop in Saffron Walden by Jo Burch from the Words in Walden FestivalAlexander McCall Smith was interviewed at Harts Bookshop in Saffron Walden by Jo Burch from the Words in Walden Festival

The shop was full to brim with avid readers – devoted fans of some his most-treasured works including The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, 44 Scotland Street and the most recent, My Italian Bulldozer.

Speaking to Jo Burch, from Words in Walden, McCall Smith explained he had first got into writing when he was working as a law professor.

He said: “I was very happy in my previous incarnation as a professor of law. I was quite involved with the bio-ethical issues so it was a very interesting time to be involved in them.

“I was in my spare time a writer. I had written a number of books and then I sat down and wrote The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency which I thought was going to be a short story, which shows how wrong you can be.

“I rather liked Mma Ramotswe because I had lived and worked in Botswana and made it into a full-length novel.”

McCall Smith also confessed that after Mma Ramotswe got engaged to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, it took him a further four novels to finally wed the pair.

He also spoke about his writing process and said that after starting The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency he diagnosed himself with ‘serial novelism’.

“There is no cure,” he said.

“It has affected quite a few people. I seem to be afflicted by it but I enjoy writing.”

Following the success of the series, McCall Smith’s career as an author exploded and he gave up his work in law.

He now writes a handful of novels a year, has a gruelling diary of engagements, and has sold 40 million copies of his English-speaking work alone.

He told the audience that his latest novel, My Italian Bulldozer, is inspired by real-life events about a trip to Italy in which a car hire booking goes terribly awry.

Of writing, he added: “It is a sheer pleasure.

“I enjoy writing very much indeed. You have to be disciplined about it and cannot treat it as a pursuit of leisure or a hobby. You have to be serious about it.”

McCall Smith’s work is available to buy from Hart’s Books.

For more information about his books visit alexandermccallsmith.co.uk.

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