Mollie Hunter was born and raised near Edinburgh, Scotland, and married Thomas McIwraith in 1940. She made her debut as a writer with the novel Patrick Kentigern Keenan, published in 1963 in the UK and released in the USA as The Smartest Man in Ireland. She went on lecture tours of the USA in 1975 and New Zealand in 1976. She served as a writer-in-residence at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and also taught creative writing at the Aberlour Summer School. In addition to her more than 25 novels and plays for children and adults, she also produced nonfiction works about writing, and wrote numerous articles and essays for newspapers and magazines. She's considered one of the most popular and influential 20th-century Scottish fiction writers.