The crème de la crème of Muriel Spark: Muriel Spark 100 celebrations

The crème de la crème of Muriel Spark: Muriel Spark 100 celebrations

October 26, 2017

The first details for Muriel Spark 100 – a year-long, nationwide programme of literary and cultural events marking the centenary of Muriel Spark – has been announced today. The news released coincides with the launch of the dedicated centenary website, new funds for artists and groups to develop and present new work as part of the centenary year, and a call out by Muriel Spark 100 organisers to anyone with plans to mark the centenary to get in touch.

Muriel Spark 100 Chair and Creative Scotland Head of Literature, Publishing and Languages, Jenny Niven said:

The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark’s birth is both a landmark moment and an unparalleled opportunity to permanently influence the way in which this leading figure of Scotland’s cultural history features in the public imagination.

Organised by the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland, the year-long celebration will include the re-publication of her 22 novels by Polygon, the unveiling of a Spark archive at the National Library of Scotland exhibition, a BBC Radio 3 series featuring Ali Smith, Val McDermid, Janice Galloway, Kate Clanchy, and Louise Welsh, an international symposium, and much more.

The 22 novels, to be published by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn ltd, will be published in a collectable hardback centenary edition, carrying a series preface by editor Alan Taylor and an introduction by such well-known writers or critics as Ali Smith, William Boyd, Alexander McCall Smith, Candia McWilliam, James Wood, Andrew O’Hagan, Joseph Kanon, Zoë Strachan, Allan Massie, Kapka Kassabova, Dan Gunn Ian Rankin and Richard

Edinburgh City of Literature Trust will be partnering with Mercat Tours to launch Muriel Spark walking tours from Spring 2018. The tours will set Muriel Spark’s work in the context of the city, exploring the places that influenced and inspired her. Further details and booking information be announced soon.

Edinburgh Spy Week 2018 – an annual week of public events focusing on spy fiction and film and the ways in which secrecy and spying run through our culture  will also shine a spotlight on role of secrecy in the life and work of Muriel Spark in Secrecy, Spies, and Muriel Spark. At the National Library of Scotland, a major new exhibition revealing unique insights into Muriel Spark’s extraordinary life and work, The International Style of Muriel Spark, will feature personal artefacts never before seen by the public.

Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

I’m really excited about the forthcoming celebration of Muriel Spark 100. Dame Muriel Spark was one of Scotland’s literary giants and, to this day, her work continues to inspire generations of readers and writers and resonates with audiences across the country and beyond.

More ways to get involved

For those looking to develop events or who would like to mark the centenary in some way – from exhibitions to readings, talks to screenings – contact Muriel Spark 100 Project Coordinator Sabrina Leruste at [email protected] who can offer advice on promoting events as part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme and making connections with relevant counterparts.

Muriel Spark

Photo credit: National Library of Scotland

Muriel Spark was an award wining Scottish novelist. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Spark’s literary career spanned periods living in Britain, New York, and Italy. Her best known work, the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was adapted into a film starring Maggie Smith.


She has been awarded several awards over the course of her career, including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1965 for The Mandelbaum Gate, the US Ingersoll Foundation T. S. Eliot Award in 1992, the David Cohen Prize in 1997, the Booker Prize in 1969 and 1981, and the Golden PEN Award in 1998.

She remains one of Edinburgh’s best loved authors, and is commemorated in Makar’s Court in Edinburgh.