Muriel Spark's centenary to be marked by string of events

Muriel Spark's centenary to be marked by string of events

The National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Scottish writer Muriel Spark with a range of literary and cultural events, including a major exhibition, an international academic conference at the University of Glasgow, two BBC documentaries and plans to publish new editions of her work.

The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark’s birth, around which there will be a co-ordinated, collaborative programme of events across Scotland’s creative and cultural community, will be on 1st February 2018. She died on 15th April 2006, aged 88.

The hub of activity planned has led to the recruitment for a dedicated "centenary co-ordinator" funded by Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland.

There will be a BBC Two Scotland and BBC Four TV documentary about Sparks; an exhibition of Spark’s work at the National Library of Scotland, which holds her voluminous archive, in addition to an exhibition from the Muriel Spark Society and a large scale public event presented by the Edinburgh International Book Festival; a special edition of Scottish Review of Books; and plans for publication of new editions of key texts.

Colin McIlroy, Muriel Spark project curator, National Library of Scotland, commented:  “Dame Muriel Spark was a Scots-born writer with a huge international reputation and it is very fitting that Scotland should honour her achievements in her centenary year. We are very fortunate to hold her archive which is one of the most comprehensive records of a writer’s life ever assembled. Highlights from it will be able to be seen in our forthcoming exhibition.” 

Jenny Niven, head of literature, languages and publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark’s 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."

Niven said Creative Scotland would be keen to hear from writers and artists, groups and organisations with work in development or who are proposing to mark the centenary in some way. "This will offer us better idea of the scope and the scale of activity taking place, and will mean we can coordinate and collaborate with everyone taking part to best effect," she said. The address to contact is: literature@creativescotland.com.

Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Spark was made available in e-book for the first time in the UK as part of a deal with Canongate in 2015 when it also acquired eight other works by Spark to publish both physically and digitally between 2015 and 2017.