Susan Ferrier, who published several well-received novels in the early 19th century but whose profile never caught on outside literary circles, once lived at 25 George Street in one of the townhouses that now make up InterContinental Edinburgh The George.
The hotel is now celebrating the hotel’s literary links with Susan Ferrier’s celebration of Women’s History Month, where her book Marriage, published in 1818, was made available to guests along with other Scottish writers.
Kieran Quinn, General Manager of InterContinental Edinburgh The George, said: “We are so proud of our historical links with some of Scotland’s greatest literary scholars, so it only made sense that we launched a new offering for guests to immerse themselves in the work. about those women who once stayed and were inspired by the place we now call home and learned more about more modern Scottish writers.”
International Women’s Day: where are the women who write? – Sarah Sheridan
Ferrier came from a secular family with her father James, a Signet writer and chief clerk of the Court of Session, where he was a colleague of Sir Walter Scott.
Like other female writers of the time, Ferrier wrote anonymously, although her identity became more widely known over time. However, she always continued to publicly deny her work and wrote in her memoirs, “I never confess myself… I could not bear the hustle and bustle of authorism.”
Her anonymity came at a time when society considered it unacceptable for women to take on an independent public role, as it was considered more acceptable for women to support the ambitions of men in their lives.
It was also unusual for ladies to do business. According to an article for the National Library of Scotland, at the time it was common for a publisher to buy the copyright of a novel outright rather than agree to pay royalties.
But in the case of Ferrier, the publisher negotiated the sale of copyright not with the author, but with her brother.
When she was an unknown writer, Blackwoods offered £150 for her first novel, The Marriage, which tells the story of an English heiress who elopes with an impoverished Scot to a seedy castle in the mountains.
By the time The Legacy was published in 1819, Ferrier’s proposed fee had risen to £1,000.
InterContinental The George partnered with the Rare Birds Book Shop in Stockbridge to highlight Ferrier’s work.
In addition to a copy of The Marriage, guests who purchase this deal will also receive “beautifully packaged” copies of former Makar Jackie Kay’s debut novel The Trumpet, a fictional chronicle of the life and death of transgender jazz artist Billy Tipton and Muriel Spark, Blooming. Miss Jean Brodie.
Rachel Wood, founder and owner of the Rare Birds Book Shop, which opened in 2017 to advocate women’s writing, said: “There’s nothing we love more than helping readers discover the writings of women, and what better way to help visitors to discover Edinburgh’s rich literary history, attracted the attention of three brilliant Scottish writers whose work has captured the imagination of readers around the world.”