Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Farewell and welcome

After three years of being Chair, which followed an earlier eight years in the post, I decided it was time to go.  It’s been a real privilege to be part of this Society which not only takes its role of keeping the name of Spark well and truly remembered, but takes much enjoyment in doing so.  So many friendships have been formed, both personal and with other organisations including the National Theatre of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland.  Members have laid a lasting memorial in Makar’s Court, have helped to ensure the publication of all the novels, have visited Muriel’s home in Italy and met great authors, including Margaret Atwood at a special event.

Eric Dickson, an absolute stalwart Secretary, takes on the role of Chair.  There was no contest; Eric is an authority on Muriel Spark and his enthusiasm will drive the Society on. Hugh Statham takes on the role of Secretary, most ably assisted by Lorna who is the Membership Secretary.  Christine Selkirk, our terrific Treasurer, hands over to Clive Preston, whose knowledge of wine we hope leads us into new pastures - or should that be vineyards...

Whatever the future brings I know that the spirit of Muriel Spark will be behind all that happens. Alan Taylor describes the Society as ‘small but perfectly formed’ - may it continue to grow and bring much pleasure to the lives of all Muriel Spark admirers.

Gail Wylie

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Exclusive event on June 19 for members and guests

‘Doctors of Philosophy’ at Edinburgh Book Festival

Look out for this special event on the 19 August.  A rehearsed reading of Muriel Spark’s only stage play will be performed in the Spiegeltent at the Edinburgh Book Festival in Charlotte Square Gardens. It will be directed by Marilyn Imrie

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More Centenary news

Edinburgh City Council are commemorating the centenary in two ways:

The Muriel Spark walk on Bruntsfield Links marks the daily route taken by Muriel as a schoolgirl from her home in Bruntsfield Place to her school, James Gillespie’s.
The unveiling of this will take place on Friday 8 June at 6 pm.

A plaque will be added to the Vennel, the stairs which link the Grassmarket to Lauriston Place, and which will now be known as ‘The Miss Jean Brodie Steps’.  Jean Brodie took her girls on this walk in the memorable scene in the novel ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ - recreated with Maggie Smith in the film.

Thanks to all involved in making both of these happen.

Virago Modern Classics reissue ‘Momento Mori’

 Eric Dickson, Secretary of the Muriel Spark Society, celebrates this reissue:

Remember you must die! (or live on as a modern classic)
Virago are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their modern classics with a reissue of 13 new editions, including Mememto Mori by Muriel Spark. The book has been a classic since 1959,  and Virago has respected its status. The publisher has commissioned new covers from designer Yehrin Tong, and the Spark cover has the obligatory telephone, but with striking, reflective silver inlay, and a very Hitchcockian background. The Librarian in me loves the french flaps, non-acidic paper stock and crystal clear Goudy typesetting. As the 60th anniversary of the novel nears, this is a fitting birthday gift.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Centenary Concert for Muriel Spark, London

On the 13th of October in the Purcell Room in London's Southbank Centre, there will be a Centenary Concert for Muriel Spark.
This concert will include some favourite pieces of Dame Muriel's and new work which celebrates her poetry.  Penelope Jardine would be delighted to see members of the Society at this event!
For further details visit

'Addressing Spark'

On the evening of Tuesday June 19th the Society will be hosting its major Centenary event:
'Addressing Spark'.   Lyon & Turnbull, Broughton Place, Edinburgh are kindly hosting this talk, reception and small exhibition all related to how Spark painted portraits in words to create her characters.  Gail Wylie will be giving a short talk, and will be joined in conversation with Alexander Moffat, OBE, RSA to discuss painting his iconic portrait of Dame Muriel.
(This evening is invitation only.  Invitations will be sent in May to all members, and guests, of the Society.)

Monday, March 05, 2018

Two Dames

I was struck recently by certain similarities between Muriel Spark and Daphne du Maurier.  They may have very different narrative styles but they also have a surprising amount in common.  I wrote the following short piece, sent it to the Daphne du Maurier Society, and am delighted with their response.

The piece, titled 'Two Dames' now appears on the Daphne du Maurier website.
Click HERE for details

Gail Wylie