Nicola Sturgeon reveals teen love of Muriel Spark

Dame Muriel Spark at the Edinburgh Book Festival
Dame Muriel Spark at the Edinburgh Book Festival
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Nicola Sturgeon has spoken of her love of Edinburgh-born author Muriel Spark, revealing how she “devoured” the late Dame’s novels during her teenage and student years.

The First Minister hailed the author’s “sheer joy, entertainment, and rigorous intellectual stimulation” as she addressed a centenary celebration for the author at the Usher hall last night.

A campaign to have a statue erected of the author in the capital has won the backing the SNP leader.

Spark, who died in 2006, is regarded by many critics as the finest Scottish novelist of the 20th century and Ms Sturgeon told the audience last night the author was “truly the creme de la creme.”

“Like many, I devoured Spark’s novels in my teenage and student years,” the First Minister said.

“Having just recently started re-reading them, I am discovering all over again the sheer joy, entertainment, and rigorous intellectual stimulation that they provide.”

The SNP leader was joined by authors Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin last night and read an extract from the author’s best known work the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Spark’s first novel, the Comforters, was published in 1957, but she found fame with “Prime” which was published four years later about an unconventional teacher at an Edinburgh all-girl’s merchant school, which widely seen as being based on James Gillespie’s school in Edinburgh which she attended.

Ms Sturgeon described her work as “multi layered, complex and yet somehow totally accessible.”

“On one level, quirky stories and gripping mysteries that draw the reader in and transport us to a world that can seem much simpler than the one we inhabit today,” the First Minister added.

“And yet, she offers an exploration of moral and philosophical issues that leaves you thinking long, long after the last page.”