Sally Sayward Barrell Keating Wood

Maine's first novelist was Sally Sayward Barrell Keating Wood (1759 - 1854). Born in York, Maine in 1759, just after the fall of Quebec to Britain, Sally Sayward Barrell was the daughter of a Tory sea captain. She lived with her grandfather, Judge Jonathan Sayward, until she was married in 1778. Her husband Richard Keating died five years after their marriage, leaving Sally with two daughters and a newborn son. After several years raising them on her own, she remarried General Abiel Wood from Wiscasset, and became known to her readers as Madam Wood. She penned five gothic novels under the signature "A Lady of Massachusetts" and after Maine's Statehood in 1820, "A Lady of Maine." The first novel, Julia and the Illuminated Baron, was published in 1800, and the last novel, Tales of the Night in 1827. A favorite of the younger generation, she pioneered Maine's rich literary tradition. Her books can be found in numerous Maine institutions, most notably the Maine Women Writers Collection at the University of New England's Westbrook Campus which collaborated in republishing Tales of the Night in 1982.

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