Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith said he feels "very touched" to be knighted in the New Year Honours list. 

The bestselling writer of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was recognised in the King's 2024 Honours for services to literature, academia, and charity. 

The 75-year-old, who lives in Edinburgh, said: "This is very kind of them and I feel most honoured. Writing the books has given me great pleasure over the years and if they have been appreciated, then I am delighted.

Read more: Alexander McCall Smith's unlikely love of Baywatch

"I would have put myself pretty low down on the list of those deserving this sort of thing, but I'm obviously very touched by this. I shall carry on doing what I currently do, which is just to act as a chronicler of others' lives.

"I have many more books that I hope to write, as long as I'm able, and as long as the actuaries permit.

The Herald: Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith has been knighted in the New Year HonoursScottish author Alexander McCall Smith has been knighted in the New Year Honours (Image: PA)

"One thing that this development makes me do is to think of all the people in Scottish publishing whose hard work started this off and sustained it before it was taken up by London and New York too.

"We are so lucky to have such enthusiastic publishers who do so much for their authors."

Sir Alexander's first book was published in 1980, however it was not until the publication of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency that his rise to fame began.

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The series, set in Botswana and featuring the private detective Precious Ramotswe, has now sold more than 20 million copies in the English language alone.

An emeritus professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, Sir Alexander is also known for his series' including the 44 Scotland Street novels, the Isabel Dalhousie collection, and the von Igelfeld books.

The Herald: Alexander McCall SmithAlexander McCall Smith

He was born in what was then known as Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and made Edinburgh his home after studying there.

The author conceived the idea of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which is now housed in Galashiels.

Sir Alexander has also written several popular series of books in the Borders, and is a patron of several charities including The Eric Liddell Community, a care charity and community hub in Edinburgh.

Read more: Full list of Scots recognised in New Years Honours 

The author has written and contributed to more than 100 books including short story collections, children's books and specialist academic titles.

Earlier this year, he told the Herald how his unlikely fondness for the television show Baywatch helped him through hard times when he was missing his family while teaching in Italy. 

He said: “I used to go back to the flat in the evening after work and I would have the same meal every evening which was Mozzarella cheese with tomatoes and olive oil and then I would watch Baywatch in Italian. A really sad picture. And this lasted for a couple of months.

“There was an Italian station which showed Baywatch every evening. It did help my Italian a bit. Things like, ‘Quick, fetch the rescue boat.’ I would get quite fluent at that."

Sir Alexander is among a number of Scots who have been recognised in the New Year Honours, including Doddie Aid founder Rob Wainwright, and former football player and manager Alex McLeish.