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8

The book was published in Scotland and was given a very encouraging review in the Daily Telegraph by Tony Daniels, who is an accomplished essayist and the author of a number of highly entertaining and thought-provoking books. Rather to my surprise, the first print run sold out and additional copies were printed.

I wrote a sequel to the first book, and another book after that. After their publication in Scotland, these books were offered to large London paperback publishers but were consistently turned down. My agents pointed to the generous reviews, but this would not sway those publishers. Why? The impression I had was that they wanted edge; they expected violence and dysfunction, especially from a Scottish writer. We were all meant to be gritty and in-your-face.

In the United States the books were initially distributed by Columbia University Press. They sold them into a number of independent bookstores, where they slowly started to get a word-of-mouth following. Eventually there were four in the series, and that was the stage at which the series was picked up by large publishers in New York, Anchor Books and Pantheon. Suddenly it became very successful. Foreign editions were sold, and today the books are published in some forty-five languages. Mma Ramotswe had arrived.

It was the Americans who discovered Mma Ramotswe. I owe everything to my American readers, who bought the books in large numbers. Like any country, the United States has its faults, but at heart Americans are a kind and generous-spirited people, and the country remains a beacon in the darkness of this world.


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