And so it is entirely fitting that the Saltire Society has now awarded only its third-ever lifetime achievement award to an author who has written more than 100 books, with the best-sellers translated into a total of no less than 47 languages. As many literary folk will attest, when publishers go to the trouble of translating a book into another language that is often a sign of its quality. To have so many different countries interested in McCall Smith's work is an accolade in itself.
He also is the creator of 44 Scotland Street – the world’s longest-running serial novel, which we are delighted to publish in this newspaper – that has so far been turned into a total of 15 best-selling books. On any measure, it has been an extraordinary success.
Speaking about the award, McCall Smith said he was “so proud to call this country home” and that “being honoured in this way in your home country is very special”. He expressed the hope that, through his fiction and poetry, “people in far-flung places in this world might discover a little more of who we are and what makes us tick – hear our voice, feel the passion we have for our country and share in a little moment of our humour”.
Through his skill with words, he has written his name into the history books in a way that few others can hope to achieve. We congratulate him on a most-deserved award.