Anna Maria Porter and her older sister Jane were the daughters of an Irish army surgeon who died when they were very young. Their mother moved the family, which included three brothers, to Edinburgh, Scotland, where they befriended Sir Walter Scott, then a university student. He entertained the children with his stories. The family later moved to London, where Anna Maria and Jane were part of a circle of literary women that included Hannah More, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Mrs. Inchbald. Anna Maria was a precocious student and began writing poems at about age seven. She published her first work, Artless Tales, in 1793-1795. She went on to become a prolific author and produced about 50 volumes during her career. She also co-authored works with her sister.