Alexander McCall Smith
A former Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 100 books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and children’s books. He is best known for The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, set in Botswana, which has been translated into 46 languages and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The eighteenth volume in the series, The House of Unexpected Sisters, has recently been published. McCall Smith is also the author of The Sunday Philosophy Club series, set in Edinburgh, and the 44 Scotland Street series, which first appeared as a daily novel in The Scotsman newspaper. The series now runs to twelve volumes, the most recent of which, A Time of Love and Tartan, has just been published. McCall Smith has written a number of stand-alone novels, including The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse; My Italian Bulldozer; and Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction in 2015.
Alexander McCall Smith holds a number of awards, including thirteen honorary doctorates from universities throughout the world. In 2007 he was made a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to literature, and in 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country. McCall Smith received the US Duke LEAF Award for Environmental Achievement in 2013, and in 2017 he was presented with the National Arts Club of America Medal of Honor for Achievement in Literature.
Born and bred in Edinburgh, Sue is the niece of Eric Liddell and has been involved in the Centre since its opening.
Lord David Puttnam
David Puttnam spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including Chariots of Fire, The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes.
David is the present Chancellor of the Open University and has been Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA).
He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the ‘creative and communications’ industries.
David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006.