Pender, Margaret Teresa (1850–1920), writer, was born at Ballytweedy, Co. Antrim, the second youngest of the eight children of Daniel Doherty, a farmer, and his wife, Margaret (née White), of Ballytweedy, Killead, Co. Antrim. Her family had a distinct literary tradition (both her maternal grandfather, William White, and her mother were poets) as well as strongly nationalist beliefs, and she began writing verse at a young age. She was educated at home, attended Ballyrobin national school and the Convent of Mercy, Belfast, where she trained as a teacher, and taught briefly in Aghagallon. In 1869 she married Hugh Owen Pender, a printer. She first established a literary reputation as a poet, publishing in the Shamrock, the Belfast Morning News, United Ireland, and the Nation (using pseudonyms such as ‘Colleen’, ‘Marguerite’, and ‘M.T.P’), and winning several poetry competitions. However, she was equally successful in prose; her short stories and serialised novels (usually historical narratives with a pronounced nationalist tone) appeared in Dublin magazines as well as the American and Australian press.
Pender also devoted much of her time and energy to promoting nationalist politics. She was an outspoken supporter of Joe Devlin (qv), and succeeded Alice Milligan (qv) as president of the Belfast branch of the Nationalist Association of Irishwomen. An accomplished public speaker, she delivered lectures at the Young Ireland Society and the Irish Women's Association, her name alone being ‘sufficient to bring a large audience together’ (Urquhart, 91). She died 17 March 1920 at her home, 7 Newington Street, Belfast. She had two sons and three daughters; her son Justin (1870–1906) was a well-regarded poet. Some of her correspondence is in the British Library, London.