Fiona Hyslop was born in Ayrshire and with her family spent her early years in England before returning to Ayrshire. She graduated from Glasgow University with an MA (Hons) in Economic History and Sociology.
She completed a post graduate Diploma in Industrial Administration at the Scottish College of Textiles, before moving to Edinburgh to join the financial services company Standard Life where she held various positions in sales and marketing, latterly as Brand Development Manager.
Elected in the first session of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 she has been returned as the Constituency MSP for Linlithgow since 2011. She was Cabinet Secretary of Education and Life Long Learning in the first SNP Cabinet in 2007 and was the Minister responsible for abolishing backend university tuition fees. She has been a Minister continually since 2007 with responsibility for Culture and External Affairs since 2009 and is currently the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.
In this role she has responsibility for Themed Years and Major Events in Scotland. She successfully oversaw delivery of the inaugural multi-sport European Championships in Glasgow in 2018 and the strong pipeline of major events continues with Scotland hosting the 2019 Solheim Cup, the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship and the first ever thirteen-discipline UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023.