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Dame Muriel Sarah Spark Edit Profile

essayist , novelist , writer , poet

Dame Muriel Spark was a Scottish novelist who was named the list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945"by the Times newspaper in 2008.


1934–35 - Spark took a course in "Commercial correspondence and précis writing" at Heriot-Watt College.


Spark began writing seriously after the war, under her married name, beginning with poetry and literary criticism. In 1947 she became editor of the Poetry Review. In 1954 she decided to join the Roman Catholic Church, which she considered crucial in her development toward becoming a novelist.


The Comforters (1957)

Robinson (1958)

Memento Mori (1959)

The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960)

The Bachelors (1960)

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)

The Girls of Slender Means (1963)

The Mandelbaum Gate (1965)

The Public Image (1968) - Shortlisted for Booker Prize

The Driver's Seat (1970)

Not to Disturb (1971)

The Hothouse by the East River (1973)

The Abbess of Crewe (1974)

Territorial Rights (1979)

Loitering with Intent (1981) - Shortlisted for Booker Prize

The Only Problem (1984)

Reality and Dreams (1996)

Aiding and Abetting (2000)

The Finishing School (2004)

Other works

Tribute to Wordsworth (edited with Derek Stanford) (1950)

Child of Light (a study of Mary Shelley) (1951)

The Fanfarlo and Other Verse (1952)

Selected Poems of Emily Brontë (1952)

John Masefield (biography) (1953)

Emily Brontë: Her Life and Work (with Derek Stanford)(1953)

My Best Mary (a selection of letters of Mary Shelley, edited with Derek Stanford) (1953)

The Brontë letters (1954)

Letters of John Henry Newman (edited with Derek Stanford) (1957)

The Go-away Bird (short stories) (1958)

Voices at Play (short stories and plays) (1961)

Doctors of Philosophy (play) (1963)

Collected Poems I (1967)

Collected Stories I (1967)

The Very Fine Clock (children's book, illustrations by Edward Gorey)(1968)

Bang-bang You're Dead (short stories) (1982)

Mary Shelley (complete revision of Child of Light) (1987)

Going Up to Sotheby's and Other Poems (1982)

Curriculum Vitae (autobiography) (1992)

Complete Short Stories (2001)

All the Poems (2004)


  • James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1965 for The Mandelbaum Gate.

    The United States Ingersoll Foundation T. S. Eliot Award in 1992.

    She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993, in recognition of her services to literature.

    David Cohen Prize in 1997.


  • Fellow Royal Society Edinburgh; American Academy of Arts and Letters (honorary 1978).


She was born Muriel Sarah Camberg in Edinburgh, the daughter of Sarah Elizabeth Maud and Bernard Camberg, an engineer. Her father was Jewish and her mother had been raised a Presbyterian, as was Spark.

Sidney Oswald Spark

Robin Spark