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Mccall Smith - getting into Mma Ramotswe's head is easy

Staff Writer
The creator of the Precious Ramotswe character in the no.1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels, Alexander McCall Smith has told a USA publication getting into the character's head is not a difficult task despite the fact that he is a white man writing about a black woman.

McCall Smith is currently in the USA promoting his novels.

Mcall-Smith's 11 books based on the Motswana woman character have sold over 15 million copies in English so far. The books have also been translated into 40 languages of the world.

In a Globe & Mail interview the author who last year was honoured by Botswana President Ian Khama for contributing to promoting the good image of the country and its people beyond our borders, said; "As a writer, you should try to understand the subjective experience of everybody. That is what being a writer is about. If one only wrote from one's own historical experience, it would be very limited. Of course, one would have to be very careful if one was writing critically, but I am not writing critically. I am writing in admiration."  McCall Smith also hit at  some critics who complain he is patronising or condescending to the famous character, Mma Ramotswe.

"It's not condescension: It would be more condescending to say there are all sorts of problems and issues with these people."  The author says Mma Ramotswe is somebody people rather like because she is a kind and forgiving woman. "I do mention the problems of the world, but essentially the books are about people who are not in conflict with their fellow beings and

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I think that is something for which we all yearn. You could say that's utopian; I would hold up my hand and say fine, someone has to be a utopian writer." He was also asked to say how he stays in touch with Botswana.

"I was there six weeks ago and I am going again in October or November. One has a bank of memories, but it is always very important to go and make contact."

McCall Smith did not miss the opportunity to praise his favourite Botswana once again. "If you go to Gaborone, it is a modern city, but the moral heart of the country is still there, thankfully."

Since he published his first Mma Ramotswe novel in 1998, McCall Smith has progressed to deliver  11 series of the book, as well as two movies based on the novels. The novel titles include: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1998), Tears Of The Giraffe (2000), Morality for Beautiful Girls (2001), The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002), The Full Cupboard of Life (2003), In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (2004), Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006), The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (2007), The Miracle at Speedy Motors (2008), Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (2009), The Double Comfort Safari Club (2010) and the TV series (2008).



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