Muriel Spark may be best known for Miss Jean Brodie, but The Golden Fleece – a collection of her essays put together by her long-term companion Penelope Jardine – is an excellent book to experience Spark’s thoughts and style.



Nobody left home hatless

– Muriel Spark

This quotation is about the then slums of the Royal Mile, encapsulating the past extreme poverty of some parts of the Old Town, and giving us a snapshot of the people who lived there:

“…In the ‘twenties and early ‘thirties in Edinburgh, where everything was passionless and only the weather was full of consternation, nobody left home hatless. Even the poor women of the then High Street slums wore black shawls which covered their heads. I was about ten at the time of my most vivid hat memories, but a few years later, the same hats were still occupying shelves and hat-boxes in our house…”


Throughout 2018, the life and work of Muriel Spark is being celebrated with an extensive programme of events through the Spark 100 programme.

City of Literature is working with Mercat tours to create walking tours inspired by Spark, taking in other women writers of the city in a fun, informative stroll around with some great literary lasses.