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William Stuart Long Fiction Books

Author of the popular historical fiction saga The Australians, which contains an impressive 12 novels, William Stuart Long is a name familiar to readers in Australia and around the world. While it’s more common knowledge now, as well as a matter of open record, the writer wasn’t as clearly understood when The Australians first came to publication. Few at that time realized that Long was actually a talented woman named Vivian Stuart!

Dr. Vivian Stuart

Born in Berkshire, England in 1914, Violet Vivian Finlay was the daughter of Sir Campbell Kirkman Finlay, owner of the Burmah Oil Company Ltd. She grew up in Myanmar, lived around the world in England, Hungary, Australia and elsewhere, and throughout her life married four times and gave birth to five children. Hers was a life of scientific exploration, danger and adventure, which reflects in her writing. Drawing upon her own experiences, Dr. Stuart’s protagonists are often doctors or nurses, but she has penned quite a broad range of fiction books.

Professional and Military Career

Although she began by studying law, Dr. Stuart eventually went into medicine. Through her education in London, Budapest and Newcastle, she strove to become a pathologist and an industrial chemist. She was also an ambulance driver, and joined the Australian Forces during World War II; Dr. Stuart rose to the rank of sergeant before the conflict ended, and she had positions at several fronts. All of this served as fantastic inspirational material for her writing.

Work Beyond Writing

Dr. Stuart didn’t stop after her first fiction book hit the market in 1953. By 1960, she had also joined with a number of other women authors of the time to co-found the Romantic Novelists’ Association. After helping to form the organization, she also served as its first chairperson. A decade later, in 1970, Dr. Stuart also became the first woman to chair the influential and prestigious Swanwick writers’ summer school.

Other Works

Just as it wasn’t her only pen name, her William Stuart Long fiction books were far from Dr. Stuart’s only novels. The Australians series is available both as hardcover books and as softcover books, and you can likewise enjoy her other writing under pen names like Alex Stuart, Barbara Allen, Fiona Finlay, V.A. Stuart and Robyn Stuart.

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