City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Alexander McCall Smith (EIBF Review)


By Allan Alstead - Posted on 23 August 2011

Fringe 2011: Sandy McCall Smith
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Company: 
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Production: 
Alexander McCall Smith

I finally managed to catch Sandy McCall Smith on Friday, 19th August having tried to book a session with him on the other three previous occasions he's appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The popular and hard-working contributor to the Edinburgh International Book Festival always has something different and this time was no exception for we were entertained by Ian Fraser playing his fiddle with "Kenneth Kaunda's rallying cry" and then "Nelson Mandela's welcome to Glasgow".

The session was chaired by Jamie Jauncie who said he felt that the introductory music spanned the continents and set the scene for Sandy McCall Smith's musings.

Is he the most famous living Scottish writer?

No one would argue that he must be strongly in contention.

He has his "Corduroy Mansions", novels which are being serialised on the internet and the third novel in the series "Conspiracy of Friends" having recently ended its newspaper serialisation.

In addition there is the serialisation for television of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books which have been such a success. He was unable to recall whether there were twenty four or twenty six episodes, but promised that more would come.

The session was enormous fun and you can see why he is so hugely popular. He gave an update on all his various series of books and what their characters were doing and he thoroughly entertained his audience.

It is impossible to recount all the nuances and stories, but it was clear that McCall Smith considered each one of them very carefully and loved developing their lives for his readers and for his wider audience.

I would strongly recommend attending one of his sessions at any future Book Festival, but be quick - they are always certain to sell out quickly. It is one of the most entertaining sessions you could wish for.

Event: Friday 19 August, 20:00

On a related note, Viv liked the World According to Bertie - a theatrical adaptation of McCall's Edinburgh set novel.