Muriel Spark: Biography

Muriel Spark

01 feb 1918

Muriel Spark is considered to be one of the most unique writers of the 20th Century. Although Muriel suffered from poverty in her early life, she was honoured and felicitated with awards until her death. She was born as Muriel Sarah Camberg in Edinburgh. At the age of 19, Muriel married Sydney Oswald and went to Africa. When the relationship ended, she left her son in Africa in the care of nuns and returned to England.

Muriel Spark started writing poems and essays for magazines in London. In order to meet her needs, she worked at a departmental store and also took the job of a Secretary before publishing her first novel, ‘The Comforters’ in 1957. Muriel moved to Italy in 1960 and stayed in Rome for many years.

‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ published in 1961 gave a huge opening for Muriel. It was considered to be one of her masterpiece creation and this was also made into a stage play, a film and TV series. Muriel is widely known for her concise and witty novels. Her novel, ‘The Mandelbaum Gate’ won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Yorkshire Post, Book of the Year 1966.

In 2008, The Times newspaper named Muriel in its list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’. Muriel was felicitated with the Ingersoll Foundation TS Eliot Award and the David Cohen Prize. She was shortlisted twice for the Booker Prize. In recognition to her contributions to literature, Muriel was made the Dame Commander of the order of the British Empire in 1993.

The most important award to Muriel Spark came from the people of the small Tuscany village where she lived. The people of the village chose Muriel to be their first honorary citizen of the historic Civitella in Val di Chiana. The legendary Muriel passed away on Apr 13, 2006 in Florence, Italy. Muriel holds the record of having received eight honorary Doctorates in her lifetime.