Saturday, February 06, 2021
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Ian Rankin's archive will open to the public at the National Library of Scotland this week, and this includes access to his unfinished PhD on Muriel Spark. There is an online event hosted by NLS this evening, with Curator Rosemary Hall. Please make an appointment if you wish to view the archive. Here is some of the publicity article: The National Library of Scotland has revealed that nearly 400 files of manuscripts, notes and letters kept by the best-selling writer will be available to inspect from Friday. However followers of Rankin and Rebus will have to pre-book their visit to a “reading room” at its headquarters in Edinburgh. Highlights include early manuscripts for first Rebus novel Knots and Crosses, correspondence with leading literary figures like J K Rowling, Iain Banks, Ruth Rendell, Val McDermid and Jilly Cooper, letters from police officers who offered to help Rankin with his research, and his unfinished PhD on the author Muriel Spark.
Friday, November 27, 2020
A video clip showing late author Muriel Spark explaining her uncomplicated writing process has gone viral on social media. Bruntsfield-born Spark shot to fame in 1957 with the publication of her first novel, The Comforters, but is best-known for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), set in Edinburgh. In the video, Ms Spark sits at her writing desk and tells an off-screen interviewer: “I begin at the beginning. I write the title then I write my name. “Then I turn over and I write the title of the book, I write ‘Chapter One’ and then I write on.” Ms Spark, who died in 2006 in Florence, Tuscany, continued: “I leave a space so I can make alterations as I go along but I don’t revise it afterwards. “Then it goes to the typist and she types it and I revise that. “And that’s the book. That’s finished.” The clip has garnered more than 10,000 views on Twitter alone. Ian Rankin, who has cited Ms Sparks as his literary heroine, was asked by one social media user whether he took inspiration from her no-nonsense writing process. The Fife-born Rebus author, who lives in Edinburgh, replied: “I do a few more drafts than Muriel though!” Dean Atta, Scottish author of The Black Flamingo (2019) joked: “Why do I need an editor and a copyeditor if it’s this easy? Who knew, all I needed was a typist!” Writer and journalist Esther Webber described the clip as: “the Bake-Off technical challenge equivalent of writing advice.”
Thursday, November 19, 2020
NICOLA Sturgeon has presented a tour of her jam-packed bookshelves to mark this year’s Book Week Scotland, showing off her favourite reads and offering a glimpse into the collection she has been developing for “as long as I can remember”. The keen reader said she “now shares a house with books rather than the other way round”, with overspill in different rooms in her home. The First Minister showed off her copy of A Scots Quair which was a school prize. The SNP leader showed off some of her other favourites, including picks by Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Ali Smith and Muriel Spark. Sturgeon showed viewers “one of my most prized possessions” – a signed first-edition copy of Spark’s The Girls of Slender Means. Please go to "The National" for 17th November for the full article, plus film of the First Minister's Library.
Monday, November 16, 2020
Congratulations to our distinguished speaker, Professor Fiona Sampson for delivering an exceptional annual lecture this year. This was the Muriel Spark Society's first foray into digital broadcasting (helped by the National Library of Scotland), and it was a world impactful hit! We had 180 "attendees" from the USA, Canada as well as Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. This is almost double the capacity of the lecture room in the National Libary, and we hope some of you who attended for the first time might join us as members. Fiona's lecture was a detailed and original examination of a crucial time in Spark's career before she became the world famous novelist. I will post details here when I hear of it being published.
Wednesday, November 04, 2020
The Muriel Spark Society Annual Lecture 2020 - Fiona Sampson on Spark: finding her form. Join us next week!
You are most welcome to attend our annual lecture on Eventbrite next week, details below: We are delighted to announce that we are able to hold our annual lecture over the Web this year. The event is part of the National Library of Scotland's zoom events programme and we are once again very grateful for the support. Our speaker is Professor Fiona Sampson, who, like Spark, has written a biography of Mary Shelley. She was also only the second female editor of Poetry Review after Spark herself in the 1940s. Professor Sampson's title: Muriel Spark: finding her form. The lecture will broadcast on November 12 at 5pm. Please register with Eventbrite. We look forward to the worldwide audience that will for the first time be able to join us for our lecture.