Story Calendar

Every month, a new piece of writing by Alexander will be posted here on this site making up a calendar of stories every year. Some will be short stories, some will be articles, and some will be sneak previews from books not yet released. Perfect to read with your morning coffee!

Check back to this page regularly to see what has been added or sign up below.

Latest Stories

A Story for June: The Conditions of Unconditional Love

‘Modesty,’ said Isabel Dalhousie, as she spread thick-cut Dundee marmalade over her slice of toast, ‘is not quite the same thing as humility.’ This was not the sort of remark one would hear at every kitchen table, but Isabel was, after all, a philosopher, and if there are any breakfast tables at which such statements […]

A Story for May: ‘Donald and Yevgeni’ from The Private Life of Spies

The Private Life of Spies is a collection of stories from the world of espionage by Alexander McCall Smith, available in paperback this month. This extract is taken from the story ‘Donald and Yevgeni’. The man with the scholarly air opened the photograph album. He handled it gently, in the way of a porter in […]

A poem for April: ‘Friendship and Loss’

Below is a message from Alexander about a poem he wrote last month: ‘This is a poem I started yesterday and finished this morning. It is about friendship and loss. It refers to the work of Chinese poets of the sort I have always liked – Tang poets such as Po.Chu-i and Li Po (translated […]

A Poem for March: ‘Only One Home’

Alexander wrote this poem ‘Only One Home’ for the World Wildlife Fund Scotland to mark Earth Hour, which will take place this year on 23rd March. ‘Only One Home’ It’s always useful, we’re told, To ensure a spare is ready to hand: About the house an extra pair Of spectacles may come in useful, A […]

A Poem for February: ‘Love Unforgotten’

This poem, perfect for the month of love, is the seventh sonnet in Alexander’s collection In A Time of Distance. In his introduction, Alexander writes ‘The conclusion in the final two lines of the following poem is that we will never get another to love us by revealing to the one we love that we are […]

A Story for January: The Perfect Passion Company

In the following extract from The Perfect Passion Company, Katie has agreed to take over her cousin’s matchmaking bureau in Edinburgh while Ness goes travelling. Katie made her way along the back lane with its neat progression of mews houses. It was not a street that she was familiar with, being tucked away at the […]

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