Author Biographies

Mary Brunton (née Balfour) (1778–1818) was born in Orkney and was a Scottish novelist and contemporary of Jane Austen.  Her education was limited, though her mother did teach her French, Italian and music. She eloped and married a minister – the Reverend Alexander Brunton, who kindled her interest in philosophy. The success of Brunton's novels was based on combining events that stretched the rules of society at the time with a strong moral stance. The popularity of her novels was immediate but somewhat short-lived. She died in Edinburgh aged 40 after giving birth to a stillborn son.
Elizabeth Grant (1797–1885) the ‘Highland Lady’ was born in Edinburgh, the eldest daughter of Sir John Peter Grant, laird of Rothiemurchus. She spent her life travelling between Edinburgh, London, India and France before making her home in Ireland. She’s remembered largely for her journals which she began writing in France in 1845. In 1898, three years after her death, her writings (abridged and edited by her niece) were first published as Memoirs of a Highland Lady. The book was an instant success, requiring three reprints in the first year.
Catherine Sinclair (1800–1864) was born in Edinburgh and was a Scottish author who began writing children’s books for her nieces and nephews. Her writing combined humour with strong description and characterisation. A devout member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, her religious beliefs are evident in her fiction. She was fondly remembered in Edinburgh for her extensive educational and charitable work. Sinclair is credited with being the first person to identify Walter Scott as the author of the Waverley novels, originally published anonymously. A monument to her memory was placed in Edinburgh’s New Town and takes the form of a miniature version of the Scott Monument, a structure she was instrumental in funding.
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