Alexander McCall Smith: Legendary author 'immensely honoured' to receive the Edinburgh Award
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The coveted annual award honours an outstanding individual who has made a positive impact on the city and gained national and international recognition for Edinburgh.
Surrounded by family, friends and invited guests, Mr McCall Smith received an engraved Loving Cup from Lord Provost Frank Ross and was reunited with a set of his hand-prints preserved in stone in the City Chambers quadrangle.
The Edinburgh Award, first presented to fellow city author Ian Rankin in 2007, celebrates Mr McCall Smith's bestselling writing, legal career and academic work.
"I am immensely honoured by this award and by the kindness of the city in conferring it on me,” the 73-year-old said, “I have spent my entire adult life in this city and would not wish to live elsewhere.
"It is a wonderful city in every respect and I am so proud to be one of its citizens.”
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, added: “It's an honour and a pleasure to present one of the Capital's most prestigious accolades, the Edinburgh Award, to Alexander McCall Smith.
"His bestselling novels continue to draw positive, worldwide attention to the city and I’m delighted that fans of his work can now enjoy seeing his hand-prints immortalised in stone on our very own Edinburgh Award walk of fame.”
Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, Mr McCall Smith became a hugely successful novelist through his The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, The Sunday Philosophy Club and 44 Scotland Street book series, the latter of which is published in The Scotsman and set in the heart of the Capital's New Town.
He is now one of the world's best-loved writers for both adults and children and his books are published in 47 languages.
Mr McCall Smith is the 14th person to receive the Edinburgh award, succeeding last year’s recipient Ann Budge (2019) and fellow writers Ian Rankin OBE (2007) and JK Rowling OBE (2008), as well as fellow academics Professor Peter Higgs (2011) and Sir Timothy O’Shea (2017).
As part of the Edinburgh Award ceremony, Alan Spence, the Edinburgh Makar, read a specially commissioned work celebrating Mr McCall Smith’s life and work.