....from this week's end of year The Week include Muriel Spark's A Far Cry from Kensington. "Spark's tone of voice is unique: terse, dry, clear eyed, darkly humorous. I prefer her authobiographically based fiction, and this one rivals The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to be her masterwork."
William Boyd's website can be found at www.williamboyd.co.uk
Monday, November 25, 2013
... Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks and Alasdair Gray according to yesterday's Sunday Herald. (Book Week Scotland 2013 starts today - more details available at the Scottish Book Trust.)
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Go to the Scottish Book Trust website to cast your vote. Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark is on the list of favourites.
On a cold and dark evening, members of the Muriel Spark Society and members of the public gathered at the National Library of Scotland to hear eminent author Alexander McCall Smith speak about Edinburgh and literature. One could sense the affection for this writer as soon as he appeared. Chairman Alan Taylor introduced him by pointing out the eerie coincidence of major Edinburgh writers having surnames beginning with S: Scott, Stevenson, Spark, Smith …
McCall Smith began by praising the acuity of Spark’s observations on the city of her birth, particularly with regard to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Spark’s views are timeless, but McCall Smith would later remark on how the past disappears, how the Edinburgh of Miss Brodie had in many ways disappeared. The attenuation of the local by globalisation is something to be mourned. He spoke despairingly of how some modern buildings can detract from local identity with their sameness. However, some ugly builds can begin to seem more palatable – David Hume Tower anyone?!
In a wide detour to Africa, MS remarked how Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh and moved to Africa. He, on the other hand, was the opposite: Africa born and now permanently domiciled in Edinburgh. Speaking more generally on the literature of place, he praised the sharp, fresh eye Spark brought to colonial society in Rhodesia. He praised similarly the writings of Nadine Gordimer and Spark’s friend Doris Lessing.
AMS remarked ruefully on a literary success can be a mixed blessing for a place. Savannah, Georgia is often deluged by tourists after the success of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. He also explored the “reality” of depictions of place in literature. Was his Edinburgh fiction not too idealised? – a question he was often asked. Yet he wish to present Edinburgh in a good light, this was quite deliberate. He did mention that he had darkened one of his stories in the light of such comments. He also spoke about population make-up; many of Edinburgh’s residents were middle class people, involved in office work. Were his fictions so far away from that? He treated the audience to an amusing reading from a Scottish woman in Italy on the malaise of Scottish men; was football really so honestly admired?
The evening was a broad, amusing, and often affectionate exploration of literature and place. Afterwards, Society members and AMS repaired to another place: The Field Restaurant for a convivial meal, where other culinary, vinous and literary explorations occurred.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
An interesting post from Moira Redmond on the Guardian books blog "From Muriel Spark to Hilary Mantel there's a distinct tradition of novels built around young women living together". The 2009 Festival Fringe production of The Girls of Slender Means, based on Judith Adams adaptation, was by Stellar Quines.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
The spinsters range from Bridget Jones back in time to Jane Austen's Miss Bates and looks at the perils, or advantages, of being "on the shelf".
Monday, October 07, 2013
Here is a post by Dr Robert Hosmer on the Scottish Review of Books website based on his readings of Muriel Spark's papers held by the National Library of Scotland. The volume and wide-ranging nature of these personal and literary papers give clues both to her early literary talent and her personal identity.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Good tag-line by Laura Thompson writing in The Telegraph about Muriel Spark's biography of Mary Shelley, first published in 1951, and now re-issued by Carcanet Press.
Monday, April 15, 2013
|(copyright Marc Marnie)|
Friday, April 12, 2013
Sunday, March 03, 2013
NLS are sponsoring an event at the Aye Write! Festival on 13 April and here is an edited extract from the introduction, by
A L Kennedy, to a new publication of The Girls of Slender Means by The Folio Society
Sunday, February 03, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
...is on Sunday 3 February in the Cardoon Suite at the Bruntsfield Hotel (12.30 for 1 pm). Please contact Christine Selkirk - firstname.lastname@example.org - by 24 January if you would like to come along. The cost of the lunch is £26.50 for members and £28.50 for guests. The book for this year's quiz is the intriguing and supernatural The Ballad of Peckham Rye.