Denise Mina’s 5 Under-Appreciated Scottish Women Writers

Happy Burns Night one and all! To mark the occasion, Scottish crime writer, playwright and 2014 Women’s Prize for Fiction judge, Denise Mira has put together a list of her favourite under-appreciated Scottish Women Writers you need to know about. Read on to discover some brilliant Scots to add to your bookshelf.


Josephine Tey 1896 – 1952

(AKA Elizabeth MacKintosh)

(AKA Gordon Daviot)

This Golden Age crime writer breaks all of the conventions and rewrote herself several times to deflect nosey biographers.


Jean Adam 1704 – 1765

Working class poet whose ‘There’s Nae Luck Aboot the Hoose’ is so lovely and yearning, it keeps being ascribed to either ‘William Mickle’ or ‘trad.’

Catherine Carswell 1879- 1946

An extraordinary feminist trailblazer, journalist and literary novelist, her demystifying biography of Robert Burns prompted horror among the true believers and a bullet in the post.


Mary Brunton 1778- 1818

A contemporary of Jane Austen. The success of her debut ‘Self-Control’ irritated Austen so much she threatened to write a scene where a fiancée canoes across the Atlantic to effect her escape.

Susan Ferrier 1782-1854

Another Austen contemporary, whose revival has recently been championed by Val McDermid in her Edinburgh-wide art installation ‘Messages From The Sky’.


Love Denise’s selections? Do you have a favourite Scottish women writer we’ve missed? Join in the conversation at @WomensPrize and tell us!

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