Mollie Hunter

This week I've been studying author Mollie Hunter (30 June 1922 – 31 July 2012) in the academic text A Stranger Shore: A Critical Introduction to the Work of Mollie Hunter by Betty Greenway. It's a lovely tribute to this wonderful Scottish storyteller and lends serious insight into Ms. Hunter's work, along with insightful commentary on her writing, symbolism, and influences.
     Of course, I couldn't read about Mollie Hunter and not read some of her actual books! I began with The Kelpie's Pearls. The protagonist is an old woman of magic living in a world that increasingly doesn't understand the old ways. Devious and dangerous Kelpies have a rich history here in Scotland, so this was a good story to serve as introduction.
     Next, and even more relevant to what I've been writing about of late, is The 13th Member. Ironically, this is a fictionalized version of the very thing I've been talking about - the witches of Prestonpans! I'm only about half-way through so far, but I'm already recognizing the real people portrayed in the book through a fictional lens - very fun!
     Reading all of this has given me some great ideas to chew on for my PhD - thoughts of liminal characters, magic, and Scottish folklore. Also, this idea of animism and the attraction of young readers to fantasy, when they are going through the transition from childhood to young adult, holding tight to wonder, while embracing the more mature/rational adult existence. All very interesting!
     At any rate, if you're not familiar with Mollie Hunter, and you'd like to enjoy some good mid-grade steeped in Scottish lore, I highly recommend you read some of her books!


Jane Yolen said…
Some day I will tell you my favorite MH story.
Oooo - I look forward to it!! :) e
Unknown said…
Thank you for this. I requested these two books from my library. I retired in June from a long career as academic library director and am exploring one of my enduring love interests— children’s fantasy books. I love your adventures
Very good! You may also want to read some E. Nesbit! :) e
Try Moira Miller's The Doom of Soulis (1987). It's been reprinted a number of times and was based on a Scottish legend of the 14th century. It's great! I loved the few Mollie Hunters I found on this side of the Atlantic. There are other books by other authors that are nagging at my memory. I'll see if I can track them down.
Eileen Dunlop's Robinsheugh (1975), The Flute in Mayferry Street (1976), and The House on the Hill (1987), are in my collection. From looking at Fantastic Fiction database etc. her stories tend to have ghosts, lots of Scots and family history and sometimes time travel. I can see I'm going to have to track her other books down. I enjoyed them as a teenager and still adore The Flute in Mayferry Street.
Jenny - You would really enjoy the Betty Greenway book, I think! It talks about how Ms Hunter used mainly original sources in her writing. :) e

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