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Author of the Month
This month’s author is Alexander McCall Smith. R. Alexander "Sandy" McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE (born 24 August 1948), is a British-Zimbabwean writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. In the late 20th century, McCall Smith became a respected expert on medical law and bioethics and served on British and international committees concerned with these issues.
Alexander McCall Smith was born in Bulawayo in 1948 in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), the youngest of four children. His father worked as a public prosecutor in Bulawayo McCall Smith was educated at the Christian Brothers College in Bulawayo before moving to Scotland at age 17 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.
McCall Smith is a prolific author of fiction, with several series to his credit. He writes at a prodigious rate: "Even when travelling, he never loses a day, turning out between 2,000 and 3,000 words [a day] – but more like 5,000 words when at home in Edinburgh. His usual rate is 1,000 words an hour.” He has gained the most fame for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe and set in Gaborone, Botswana. The first novel was published in 1998. By 2009, the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series had sold more than 20 million copies in English editions.
According to his publisher in Edinburgh, Polygon (an imprint of Birlinn Books), "He was, until 2005, a professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, but gave up the position to concentrate on his writing and now writes full time."
He published 30 books in the 1980s and 1990s before he began the series that has brought him the world's notice. In 2008 he wrote a serialized online novel Corduroy Mansions, with the audio edition read by Andrew Sachs made available at the same pace as the daily publication. He wrote more than ten chapters ahead of publication, finding the experience of serialized publication to be "a frightening thing to create a novel while his readers watched. 'I am like a man on a tightrope.’
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Portal of Texas History
The Portal of Texas History has started to upload AP Progress newspapers (1935-1945). The following link will take you to the site.