On Saturday 9th September 2023 we were delighted to hold our 2023 AGM and a reception for the highly acclaimed author and poet Alexander McCall Smith

The Saltire Society's Convener, Susan Garnsworthy, presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Alexander McCall Smith

We were delighted to celebrate this achievement with Alexander who has had an impressive career from his popular The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency to the world renowned 44 Scotland Street books, to his insightful and heartfelt poetry. The event consisted of speeches from Susan Garnsworthy, The Saltire Society's Convener, a Q&A with Alexander, and finally the most generous surprise gift - a poem written and read by Alexander for the occasion! Have a read of the poem below:

A culture is a way of looking at things

And deciding that the recipe by which

We live our daily lives is a satisfying one,

And worth inhabiting;

A language is a way of saying things

That occur in the heart; a literature

Is a collection of stories and thoughts

That make most modest lives large; 

Scotland is a country in which history

Has often been a discouraging teacher,

And yet her written word and song

Are brightly coloured enough;

Fergusson and Peploe made that point

In paint; the pigments of their palettes

Have bled into a nation’s notion of itself,

Leaving a grounding of light, always present;

And so, in darker times, when all about us

We witness the travails of our world,

Is it still there, that light, ready

To proclaim this beloved country, our place

- Alexander McCall Smith

In 2022 Alexander received the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Literary Awards. Watch the video below to see Alexander's acceptance speech and check out the link to our 2023 Literary Awards page for the latest news.