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'I break the rules'

28 December 2015

‘Growing up in Zimbabwe was a great adventure, but I didn't see it as such. I spent my entire childhood in Africa. I couldn't have written The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, which are set in Botswana, without the affection that gave me.

If I'm working at full tilt, I'll write 3,000 to 4,000 words in a day. It just comes to me. I break the rules: you're only supposed to write one book a year or every two years. (this year he has published six.)

No I Ladies' Detective Agency is my biggest-selling series - it's been published in 46 languages. I think people like the character of Mma Ramotse. I knew that for some people (writing from a black woman's perspective) could be an issue. But it's positive, not social realism. And women write books about men all the time, and nobody makes a fuss about that. Why should they make a fuss about a man writing about women?'

Alexander McCall Smith in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella