Friday, November 30, 2018

Theroux takes tea with Muriel Spark ...

No this is not weird weekends with his son Louis! Here Theroux pere takes tea with Spark. The hardback is out and a paperback is planned next year. Another idea for an event? Should be a fascinating encounter.

Muriel Spark, Existentialism and the Art of Death

Here's a snappy title coming your way from Edinburgh University Press in 2019! I will get in touch with Cairns Craig and see if he will talk to the Society on this. Absolutely intriguing ...

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Nicola Sturgeon celebrates Muriel Spark

Nicola Sturgeon raced through Muriel Spark's novels during her youth (Photo: Getty)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launches the distribution of Muriel Spark's novels to Scottish public libraries yesterday. Announcing the free book scheme during a visit to Loanhead public library in Midlothian, Ms Sturgeon said: “Muriel Spark is one of Scotland’s greatest authors and it is fitting that we celebrate the centenary of her birth with this donation to libraries. “I’ve been an avid reader of her books since I was young and I’m very pleased that many more people will now be able to enjoy her work. For me, reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures.”

Read more at:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Muriel Spark across Scotland

Today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the distribution of complete sets of Muriel Spark novels to all public libraries in Scotland - all 491 of them! Additionally, every secondary school in Edinburgh will receive a set. This extremely generous initiative has been funded by the Scottish Government and Postcode Lottery. What a way to celebrate the end of the centenary! Happy reading to all!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Edinburgh of Miss Jean Brodie

Gail Wylie will be speaking on Jean Brodie's Edinburgh in Broughton History Society's lecture series. The event takes place on Monday November 5, 7 for 7.30pm. The location is Drummond Community High School, and visitors pay £2 entrance.

Saltire Literary Awards 2018

Congratulations are due to our former Chairman Alan Taylor as his memoir of Muriel Spark, Appointment in Arezzo, is shortlisted for this year's Saltire Literary Awards. The winners will be announced at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on November 30. Good luck Alan!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Head to Peckham Rye ...

Muriel Spark and Peckham
2.30pm-4.30pm Sunday 4 November Start: Peckham Rye Station, London SE15 5DQ
Tickets are £15 in advance (early bird £3 cash back if booked by 28/10/18 ) £20 on the day
Book both events at the same time for £20 (available until 28/10/18)
Launching Between the Lines: part discovery of engaging writing, part discovery of place, and part discovery of the writers. Call it a 'Book Club on foot' if you like, in which we invite you to read a book and join us to walk "Between the Lines". It is 100 years since the birth of Dame Muriel Spark, acclaimed Scottish author, poet, literary critic and biographer - knighted for her contribution to British literature. The adaption for theatre and film of her novel “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” brought her considerable celebrity. This one novel caused several of her other works to be overshadowed, and yet critics have claimed that other novels are as powerful, even, of better quality.  One such is “The Ballad of Peckham Rye” written before The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, set in Peckham, south east London, it is a sharp observation of the social mores and working practices of the 1950s, as we follow ‘normal people’ going about their lives. 1950s Peckham leaps from the pages. Many of the locations in the novel still persist, others didn’t survive war or reconstruction, others are pure fantasy - our route will encompass many of these. 
Then in December, we are off to South Kensington - as Muriel Spark wrote a book called "A Far cry from Kensington" - it is less location specific than the Peckham novel but nevertheless paints a picture of 1950s London:

Muriel Spark and Kensington
Tickets are £15 in advance (early bird £3 cash back if booked by 16/11/18 ) £20 on the day
Book both events at the same time for £20 (available until 28/10/18)

Looking forward to hearing from you

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Lyon & Turnbull - Grazie Tanto!

It's a pleasure to thank Lyon & Turnbull for their generosity to The Muriel Spark Society this centenary year. They hosted Addressing Spark in June, supported the Spark Day at the Bookmark Festival, and have kindly invited members to the Elements private view this evening. Particular thanks to Deborah Bennett and Mary Michel.

Muriel Spark Centenary Concert

Society members were among a packed house for the Muriel Spark Centenary Concert in

London’s Southbank Centre on October 13. It featured the world premiere of “White Flame,”

a song cycle composed by David Matthews and commissioned by Penelope Jardine, which

set five of Muriel Spark’s poems to music. The poems were all written between 1948 and

1949, eight years before Spark’s first novel was published. The first two, The Victoria Falls,

and Like Africa, sprang from her experience of living in Africa during World War II. The

other three were free translations of the Roman poets Horace and Catullus. The song cycle

was beautifully performance by mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds, accompanied by The

Nash Ensemble, and was dedicated to Penelope Jardine who was present. In her programme

introduction, Ms Jardine wrote of the composer: “By strange coincidence, many years ago,

David came to Tuscany from Rome one foggy and freezing November night. He camped

there with a few friends in the ruined rectory I had just bought (no heat, no light, no water, no

windows, no doors). This house was to become Muriel Spark’s last home. I am so glad that

David survived his ordeal to become the extremely elegant composer he is today.”

Olga Wojtas