Media Release: New post aims to make most of Muriel Spark centenary


THE National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland are delighted to announce that a special post is being established to co-ordinate a range of exciting activity to mark next year’s centenary of the birth of Muriel Spark.

The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark’s birth on February 1st 2018 offers a unique opportunity to promote the life and work of one of Scotland’s finest and most internationally-respected writers.

Across Scotland’s creative and cultural community, plans are underway to celebrate Spark’s legacy through a co-ordinated, collaborative programme of literary and cultural events.

Recruitment begins today for the new post of the Muriel Spark Centenary co-ordinator which will be at the hub of this activity.

Events planned for the centenary include a major exhibition of Spark’s work at the National Library of Scotland which holds her voluminous archive; a BBC Two Scotland and BBC Four TV documentary; an international academic conference at the University of Glasgow; plans for publication of new editions of key texts; a special edition of Scottish Review of Books; an exhibition from the Muriel Spark Society, and a large-scale public event presented by the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Funded by Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland, this exciting and rewarding role is testament to the collective will to raise the profile of Dame Muriel, her work, and her legacy. The Muriel Spark Centenary co-ordinator will play a crucial part in making the centenary celebrations something truly memorable.

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.

“Alongside today’s announcement, we’re 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.

“If you have plans, please contact us at with an outline of your initial proposals.

“We look forward to working with you.”

Notes to editors:

Applying for The Muriel Spark Centenary co-ordinator role

The Muriel Spark Centenary co-ordinator job description can be accessed here:

The closing date for applications is 20 April, 2017.

Centenary working group

In November 2016, Creative Scotland convened the Muriel Spark Centenary working group with National Library of Scotland, BBC, University of Glasgow, the Muriel Spark Society, British Council, Scottish Book Trust, Birlinn publishing, and writer Alan Taylor.

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark was identified as a promising and creative writer when her name was still Muriel Camberg and she was still at school. Some of her poems had already been published by the time she won her first poetry prize, at the age of 12.

Dame Muriel – poet, writer of fiction and literary criticism, and biographer – went on to win most of the literary awards going, was never out of print, and was at the top of her profession, internationally, for more than half a century.

Best-known as the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel decided in the 1940s to keep a record of her professional and personal activities, beginning a personal archive that is now one of the largest and most comprehensive held by the National Library of Scotland.


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