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How Are We To Live Our Lives? An Evening with Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith, Emeritus Professor of Medical Law, University of Edinburgh, and Best-Selling Author
When Apr 11, 2011
from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where Schwab Auditorium
Contact Name
Contact Phone 814-863-5911
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Alexander McCall Smith  Alexander McCall Smith

Emeritus Professor of Medical Law, University of Edinburgh, and Best-Selling Author

This event is free and open to the public, but will require a ticket for admission. General seating tickets will be available through any of the Penn State Arts Ticket Center locations beginning March 28, 2011.

Update 4/5/11—There is no limit to the number of tickets allowed per person.


6:00 p.m.—Schwab Auditorium doors open; book sale begins

6:30 p.m.—Seating begins (General admission; seats not assigned)

7:00 p.m.—Lecture begins

8:30 p.m.—Book sale/signing in the auditorium. (Audience will exit seats, then form a line in the lobby to enter book signing area.)


Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 60 books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children’s books. He is best known for his internationally acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which rapidly rose to the top of the bestseller lists throughout the world. The film adaptation of the first book in the series premiered on HBO in 2009. He is also the author of The Sunday Philosophy Club series, the German Professor series, and the serial novels that begin with 44 Scotland Street.

McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland, and it was in this role that he first returned to Africa to work in Botswana, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. For many years he was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a visiting professor at a number of other universities elsewhere, including ones in Italy and the United States. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh.

In addition to his university work, McCall Smith was, for four years, the vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the UK, the chairman of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee, and a member of the International Bioethics Commission of UNESCO. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Crime Writers’ Association’s Dagger in the Library Award, the United Kingdom’s Author of The Year Award in 2004, and Sweden’sMartin Beck Award. In 2007 he was made a CBE for his services to literature in the Queen’s New Year’s Honor List. He holds honorary doctorates from ten universities, most recently from Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

Alexander McCall Smith currently lives in Edinburgh with his wife Elizabeth (an Edinburgh doctor). His hobbies include playing wind instruments, and he is the co-founder of an amateur orchestra called “The Really Terrible Orchestra” in which he plays the bassoon and his wife plays the horn.

"How Are We to Live Our Lives? An Evening with Alexander McCall Smith"

This familiar question has been given so many answers. One which particularly appeals to me is this: live your life with attention to detail. In paying attention to detail, to the components of everyday, ordinary life, we become aware of the needs of others. Fiction helps us to do this.

The 2011 Crawford Lecture

The Crawford lecture is made possible by support from Forrest Crawford and Sally Foote, Rock Ethics Institute External Advisory Board Members.