Internationally-admired Edinburgh-based author Alexander McCall Smith CBE is set to be honoured for his "outstanding contribution" to the city with a prestigious award.

The best-selling author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Edinburgh Award in recognition of his writing success, legal career and work in academia.

Mr McCall Smith is also known for The Sunday Philosophy Club and 44 Scotland Street series, both set in Edinburgh, and his books are published in 47 languages.

The author, who is Emeritus Professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, will become the 14th person to receive the award.

He said he was "immensely honoured" by the award, but stressed those who "really deserve it", are "the publishers, editors, and bookshop staff who help get the printed word out about this wonderful city."

He will be presented with an engraved Loving Cup from the Lord Provost and have his handprints set in stone at the City Chambers - as soon as it can be arranged within the ongoing pandemic restrictions.  

He is now one of the world's best-loved writers for both adults and children and his books are published in 47 languages. 

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Last year’s recipient was Ann Budge, with previous writers to receive the award including Ian Rankin OBE in 2007 and JK Rowling OBE in 2008.

Lord Provost Frank Ross said: "Through his wonderfully charming and engaging writing Alexander McCall Smith has done much to promote Edinburgh across the world.

"It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce him as the recipient of the 2020 Edinburgh Award.  

The Edinburgh Award enables citizens to pay a lasting tribute to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to our great city, and Mr McCall Smith has done exactly that through his truly impressive bibliography.

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"He has written and contributed to more than 100 books including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children’s books, becoming one of the best-loved authors in the world.

"He is a true advocate for Edinburgh through his writing and legal career and is a highly deserving recipient of one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious awards.

First launched in 2007, the Award is a way for Edinburgh residents to pay a lasting tribute to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Capital through their achievements.

Nominations for the Edinburgh Award are invited annually from Edinburgh citizens and the awarding decision is taken by a judging panel chaired by the Lord Provost, with representatives from all political groups on the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.