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"There is a distinct lack of camels in comtemporary literature"


On April 10th, I was one of the lucky people who had tickets to attend the sold out Alexander McCall Smith talk in advance of the Ottawa Writer's Festival. Having never been to an author talk before, I was not sure exactly what to expect. I did have high hopes, as McCall Smith writes about some of the most charming and funny characters you wish you could meet in real life. No need to worry, as he came out, finely arrayed in kilt and hose, and was just as charming and witty as I imagined!


(Picture courtesy of Carlynne Kobewka)


Most of the evening was spent in listening to a conversation between McCall Smith and Michael Redhill (acting under his Inger Ash Wolfe pseudonym) where many questions were asked about his characters, how he writes and other topics. Apparently, McCall Smith writes about a thousand words an hour! This explains how he manages to produce so many books in various series. Redhill also asked about several of the characters we all enjoy following, like Mma Ramotswe (who receives a new book later this year. We heard some spoilers, but I won't share those!) and Bertie, one of his personal favourites. It was a very amusing talk, and there were several audience members who hadn't ever read his stories, but were now committed to reading his novels.


(Picture courtesy of Carlynne Kobewka)


I even got a book signed, and sadly had little intelligent to tell McCall Smith, other than how thrilled I was to be there.


Curious to try some McCall Smith? The suggested starting point (as someone asked) is the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which features Botswana's first female detective, Mma Ramotswe.


I also quite enjoy the 44 Scotland Street Series where each short chapter appears daily in the Scotsman newspaper. Bertie is also a personal favourite character of mine, always dealing with his overbearing mother.






Don't forget, the Writer's Festival  continues to the end of April. See here for more exciting talks!