Author Biographies

Susan Ferrier (1782-1854)
Susan Ferrier (1782-1854)
Susan Ferrier (1782–1854) was born in Edinburgh, the ninth of ten children and the daughter of a prominent lawyer who was a colleague of Sir Walter Scott. She was educated privately, and was acquainted with many of the leading lights in Edinburgh society including Sir Walter Scott and Henry Mackenzie. She admired the writing of both Scott and Jane Austen, and visited Scott on numerous occasions. Ferrier was the author of three novels, Marriage (1818), The Inheritance (1824) and Destiny (1831). She chose to publish her books anonymously, though her identity as an author became widely known during her lifetime.  Marriage was originally written in 1810 but wasn’t published until 1818 in a much revised form. It was hugely successful, and was translated into French in 1825. Her publisher, William Blackwood, was prepared to pay £1000 for her second novel. She died in Edinburgh on 5 November 1854 and was buried in St Cuthbert's Churchyard.
J. MacDougall Hay (1880-1919)
J. MacDougall Hay (1881–1919) was born and raised in Tarbert, Loch Fyne and attended Glasgow University where he excelled as a scholar. He trained as a teacher and taught in Ullapool and Stornaway  but ill-health forced him to give up his teaching career. He returned to Glasgow to train as a minister whilst supporting himself  by working as a journalist. He served as a minister in Elderslie, marrying a minister’s daughter. Their son, George Campbell Hay, became a well-known Gaelic poet. Writing in the evening, his first novel, Gillespie, was published in 1914. His second novel, Barnacles, was published in 1916 and he also wrote a volume of poetry – Their Dead Sons. He died of tuberculosis aged 38 in 1919 whilst still in the planning stages of The Martyr, which was to have been his third novel.
John Gait (1779-1839)
John Galt (1779–1839) was born in Irvine, the son of a naval captain. He became a junior clerk, and filled his spare time writing stories and essays for a local journal. In 1804 he moved to London and began studying law in 1809. He met and befriended Lord Byron whilst travelling in Europe and upon his return published an account of his travels. Many years later he wrote a biography of Lord Byron. He divided his time between his writing (both fiction and school textbooks) and his many business interests, living variously in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. He moved to Canada in 1826, founding two towns while he was there, and returned to Britain in 1829 to continue writing. Soon after his return he was imprisoned for several months for failure to pay his debts. He retired to Greenock publishing his two-volume Autobiography in 1833, and died there in 1839. As he was the first novelist to deal with issues of the Industrial Revolution, Galt is often referred to as the first political novelist in the English language.
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