Flora Annie Steel
(2 April 1847 - 1929) was an English writer. She was the daughter of George Webster. In 1867 she married a member of the Indian civil service, and for the next twenty-two years lived in India, chiefly in the Punjab, with which most of her books are connected.
When her husband's health was weak, Flora Annie Steel looked after some of his responsibilities. She acted as school inspector and mediator in local arguments.
She was interested in relating to all classes of Indian society. The birth of her daughter gave her a chance to interact with local women and learn their language.
She encouraged the production of local handicrafts and collected folk-tales.
Her interest in schools and the education of women gave her a special insight into native life and character.
In 1889 the family moved back to Scotland, and she continued her writing there.
Some of her best work is contained in two collections of short stories:
- From the Five Rivers (1893)
- Tales of the Punjab (1894),
while her most ambitious effort was her novel, On the Face of the Waters
(1896), describing incidents of the Indian Mutiny.
She also wrote a popular history of India. Her later works were
- In the permanent way, and other stories (1897),
- Voices in the Night (1900),
- The Hosts of the Lord (1900),
- In the Guardianship of God (1903),
- A Sovereign Remedy (1906),
- India through the ages; a popular and picturesque history of Hindustan (1908),
- Mistress of men : a novel (1918).