Muriel Spark's Study in Italy

Friday, April 05, 2024

"My God, can she write a line!"

Check our the Scotsman Weekend magazine for an interview with Gabriel Quigley, who has adapted The Girls of Slender Means for the forthcoming Royal Lyceum production. In adapting Muriel Spark’s novel about an all-female London boarding house, Gabriel Quigley has tried to home in on the humour, she tells Mark Fisher.

Mastermind Champion - with a little help from Muriel Spark

Congratulations to Ruth Hart from Glasgow who was crowned Mastermind Champion for 2024; she won her semi-final heat with the novels of Muriel Spark as her specialist subject. Charity Engagement Manager, Ruth Hart, from Glasgow was crowned the 2024 Mastermind Champion in another thrilling Grand Final on Monday 1 April on BBC Two, concluding the show’s 51st series. Ruth won the Final with 28 points, scoring a perfect 15/15 in her specialist subject, the artist Francis Bacon. This was the first time Ruth had ever applied to a TV quiz show and the first time she'd ever been on TV. Ruth said of her win: “I was hugely surprised. I really couldn’t believe it, especially because things got off to a terrible start in the general knowledge round! I remember thinking I just needed to keep going and when the buzzer went I really expected Clive [Myrie] to say ‘Oh you’ve just missed it’. It’s all a total blur and I was flabbergasted as I didn’t have any expectations at the start. I had no experience of being on TV, or competitive quizzing, I just watched programmes at home myself – I’d never put it to the test, though!”

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Mastermind - the novels of Muriel Spark

Congratulations are due to the contestant on last night's Mastermind who won her heat answering on the novels of Muriel Spark. This has secured her a place in next week's final. If you missed it, you can catch up on BBC iplayer. How would you do? Part of me is sad though - this would have been my specialist subject! Perhaps I could answer on Dame Muriel's life ...?

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Time to Play - Norma Allan

James Gilliespie's alumnus Norma Allan launches her new book of poems, Time to Play, at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on March 6 2.30pm. Free tickets can be obtained via the SSC website or Box Office. Norma delivered our online lecture on the 60th anniversary of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 2021.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Memento Mori and Many Primes ....

Head over to BBC4 tonight to see again the BBC adaptation of Memento Mori followed by Kirsty Wark's 2018 Centenary documentary on Muriel Spark ...

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Gondola of Doom

Our esteemed member and author Olga Wojtas will launch her new novel at Blackwell's, South Bridge, Edinburgh on 18 January 7pm. Tickets are free on the Blackwell's website. Never underestimate a librarian. Fifty-something Edinburgh librarian Shona is a proud former pupil of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, but has a deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which she thinks gives her alma mater a bad name. Impeccably educated and an accomplished linguist, mathematician, martial artist, and musician, Shona is selected by Marcia Blaine herself to travel back in time for a crucial mission in Venice. Finding the city afflicted by what appears to be a new outbreak of the plague, Shona soon encounters the Cornetto family of gondoliers. Lately, a number of their passengers have met a watery fate. Coincidence? Unlikely. She dons a mask, goes undercover and seeks inspiration in the library. But the mystery only deepens. Why do the Cornettos seem so flaky and their explanations wafer-thin, even as they proclaim their innocence? What is going on at the printworks? Shona’s powers of deduction, dissection and prowess as a swimmer are put to the test as she realises that a bitter feud is at play. Can Shona unravel the tapestry of lies and get to the truth? It’s a race against time, but it would be a mistake to underestimate a librarian.

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

The Girls of Slender Means coming to the Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre in 2024

Drama adapted by Gabriel Quigley, from the novel by Muriel Spark Directed by Roxana Silbert ‘As they realised themselves in varying degrees, few people alive at the time were more delightful, more ingenious, more movingly lovely, and, as it might happen, more savage, than the girls of slender means.’ Set in the summer of 1945, in a hostel for the ‘Pecuniary Convenience and Social Protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thirty Years, who are obliged to reside apart from their Families in order to follow an Occupation in London.’, The Girls of Slender Means follows the adventures of the women who live there. They do their best to act as if the war never happened. They practice elocution, and jostle one another over suitors and a fabulous Schiaparelli gown, which they each use whenever the occasion demands. But behind the girls' giddy literary and amorous explorations hides an exquisite fragility and sinister peril, as they strive to survive 'when all the nice people were poor'. The Girls of Slender Means is a story of glamour in austerity, women at work, women at play, and women’s wit. Dates: 13 April to 4 May; ticket details on Lyceum website. The Muriel Spark Society is planning a group visit for members only.

Muriel Spark at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2023 ....

THE BOOKER PRIZES EVENT The Booker Prizes: Book of the Month Fri 25 Aug 12:30 - 13:30 Baillie Gifford West Court Attend in person Baillie Gifford West Court £15.50 [concessions £13.50/£10.50] Sponsored by The Booker Prizes The Booker Prizes: Book of the Month ‘How wonderful to be an artist and a woman in the twentieth century,’ says Fleur Talbot, Muriel Spark’s heroine in Loitering with Intent. In this Festival edition of the Booker Prizes' Book of the Month series, Sparkophiles, including Jackie Kay, explore this beloved melodrama, and how Sparks’ experiences as a writer in post-war London propelled her to write a novel that takes place ‘on the grubby edge of the literary world'. Chaired by Jo Hamya. Please note: this event may be recorded for the Booker Prize podcast series. Categories: Fiction, Words/Reading Tickets available from the Book Festival.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Sir Ian Rankin display highlights Spark PhD

A display at the National Library of Scotland includes his PhD proposal and research cards on Muriel Spark. Rankin apparently donated his archive to the Library to reside beside that of his literary heroine. This is timely as members of the Muriel Spark Society visit the Library today to view items from the Spark Archive. The Rankin display is free and runs until April.