***NEW – The New Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women – Available Now! ***

Women’s History Scotland are delighted to announce that The New Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women has just been published by Edinburgh University Press and is available now to buy online and in bookshops (RRP £35). We are very grateful to editors Elizabeth EwanRose PipesJane Rendall, and Siân Reynolds for their commitment and work.

The new dictionary, the second edition of the The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women published in 2006, contains the life stories of more than 1,000 women who shaped Scotland’s history.

It is a fully revised and extended edition of a highly regarded reference work that illuminates the lives of Scottish women in history. It includes more than 180 additional entries on women who died before 2018, forty new photographs, and an extended thematic index. With fascinating lives on every page, the concise entries illustrate the lives of Scottish women from the distant past to our own times, as well as the worldwide Scottish diaspora. Written by experts, the book provides a striking narrative of how women’s actions and influence have always helped to shape Scotland’s identity.

This dictionary is dedicated to the memory of co-editor Sue Innes (1948–2005), who gave to it all the enthusiasm, dedication and flair she brought to everything in her life, and who was still working on it, and inspiring others, to the very end.

New featured biographies include:

  • Kay Carmichael
  • Kay Matheson
  • Flora MacNeil
  • Margaret Ewing
  • Hilda Jamieson
  • Annas Keith
  • Ailsa Mackay
  • Gunnie Moberg
  • Linda Norgrove
  • Muriel Spark
  • Maud Sulter
  • Stephanie Wolfe Murray
  • Frances Wright

The new dictionary was officially launched at Edinburgh’s Signet Library on Monday 5 November with a short introduction from Professor Elizabeth Ewan followed by a poetry reading by Gerda Stevenson (author of Quines: Poems in Tribute to Women of Scotland) and a drinks reception with music from Plaidsong.

Here’s what the reviewers think:

Professor Christopher A Whatley OBE,FRSE:

With biographies of over 1000 notable Scottish women, this new, extended edition of the 2006 Dictionary, is an essential reference tool. The editors and contributors have ensured that anyone writing Scottish history today must recognise the real and distinctive contributions of women, across the board.


Lesley Riddoch, Scotsman and National columnist:

Leafing through the New Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women is like meeting a new set of mothers, sisters, friends, workmates, wise women and legends – some heroic, some horrifying. The Dictionary clothes the lives of Scottish women with vivid detail and rich, sympathetic storytelling. A fascinating read.


Mark Curthoys, Research Editor, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

‘Both wide-ranging and path-breaking, it is an indispensable resource, and should be at the core of any biographical collection.’



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