Alexander McCall Smith

Literary Birthday – 24 August – Alexander McCall Smith

Happy Birthday, Alexander McCall Smith, born 24 August 1948.

The Top Alexander McCall Smith Quotes

  1. He had been thinking of how landscape moulds a language. It was impossible to imagine these hills giving forth anything but the soft syllables of Irish, just as only certain forms of German could be spoken on the high crags of Europe; or Dutch in the muddy, guttural, phlegmish lowlands.
  2. We should be careful of the insults we fling at others, lest they return and land at our feet, newly minted to apply to those who had first coined them.
  3. We all know that it is women who make the decisions, but we have to let men think that the decisions are theirs. It is an act of kindness on the part of women.
  4. The telling of a story, like virtually everything in this life, was always made all the easier by a cup of tea.
  5. A life without stories would be no life at all. And stories bound us, did they not, one to another, the living to the dead, people to animals, people to the land?
  6. You have to leave your heart to get on with it. It’s rather like breathing. We don’t have to remind ourselves to breathe.
  7. There is room in history for all of us.
  8. Writer’s block is a load of nonsense—I’ve always been a bit suspicious of it. It’s more likely to be a symptom of depression or maybe they’ve just got nothing interesting to say. Using your imagination to create a work of fiction involves exercising the mind and the more you do it, the more adept you become. I go to Botswana for a couple of weeks a year and I just open my eyes to the opportunities in everyday life. Most of my writing is what I have in the bank of memories I’ve accumulated.
  9. The point about love, the essential point, was that we loved what we loved. We did not choose. We just loved.
  10. Sometimes she thought that the people overseas had no room in their heart for Africa, because nobody had ever told them that African people were just the same as they were.
  11. Tea, for me, is one of the great subjects. It is a romantic trade, it does not pollute excessively, it has all sorts of health benefits, it calms and wakes you up at the same time.

Alexander McCall Smith is a Rhodesian-born Scottish writer. He is most widely known as the creator of the The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. He also created The Sunday Philosophy Club series and The 44 Scotland Street series. He is an Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. McCall Smith was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2007. Follow him on Twitter: @McCallSmith

Read our 2006 interview with Alexander McCall Smith.

Listen to to the author:

Source for image:  TimDuncan, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 24th August 2012