Day #119: Alexander McCall Smith

In thinking over the many concerns in the children’s literature community, authentic voice is one that is prevalent. With friends and colleagues, I’ve had many discussions, all of which agree that there are complex layers interwoven so closely that its difficult to see the path forward.

I keep thinking about Alexander McCall Smith, a white male in his late 60s, whose most popular series features a female Motswana sleuth, Precious Ramotswe, as the main character. He crosses lines of gender and culture and yet these books are so absorbing that they’re beloved by millions. Nowhere online could I find a discussion of his “right” to write these books.

I’m grateful for the discussion, puzzling through the viewpoints, trying to make sense of authentic voice.

I love these books. Start with the first book in the series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. HBO did a 7-episode series of these books, starring Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose–they’re wonderful.)

Here’s an article from Botswana about Mr. Smith’s latest book:

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