ANNIE S. Swan, one of Scotland’s most prolific writers of the 20th century, has been re-published as part of The People’s Friend Classic Collection book series.
The Inheritance, one of Swan’s serialised novels from 1908, depicts the interconnected lives of mill owners and workers in Dundee. From the noise of the machinery and the dust covering the mill girls’ hair, to the glow of the sunset on the Firth of Tay, Swan brings alive Dundee as it was just over a century ago.
To mark the book’s release, a special virtual event also took place, where Angela Gilchrist, editor of The People’s Friend, discussed The Inheritance and Swan’s legacy – alongside Professor of British Literature, Juliet Shields, and PhD student, Charlotte Lauder.
The event celebrated Swan for all her achievements and discussed why she has been largely forgotten. The event also took place a few days before the 161st anniversary of Swan’s birth.
Swan began writing for ‘The Friend’ in 1881 and her reputation quickly grew until she became one of its celebrity authors, publishing over 150 serial stories in its pages by the time of her death in 1943. In addition to her immensely productive literary career, Swan was also active in the women’s suffrage movement, serving as president of the Society of Women Journalists in 1906, and, in 1922, she became one of the first women to stand for Parliament.
She understood the challenges faced by her readers, many of whom were working women with families to care for. Through her stories, she gave these readers a much-needed escape from the responsibilities of their everyday lives. In the pages of The Friend, Swan became a friend to her readers, sympathising with their struggles and offering them kindly counsel.
Angela Gilchrist, editor of The People’s Friend, said: “For 70 years, the work of this talented, inspiring woman has been out of print. I am delighted that we’re bringing her out of the shadows and giving a whole new audience the chance to find out why generations of readers made Annie S. Swan one of the most popular authors of the 20th century.”
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