Libraries to receive sets of Muriel Spark novels to mark centenary

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a book by Muriel Spark, during her visit to the Loanhead Centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a book by Muriel Spark, during her visit to the Loanhead Centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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Every public library in Scotland is to receive a complete set of Muriel Spark novels as part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of her birth.

Funded by the Scottish Government and the People’s Postcode Lottery – and delivered in partnership with the Scottish Book Trust – more than 11,000 books will be delivered to libraries throughout the country.

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Spark’s novels include The Girls of Slender Means, The Ballad of Peckham Rye and Memento Mori.

But it is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie she is best known for – the story of an Edinburgh school teacher who refers to her young female charges as “the crème de la crème”.

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The joint investment of £90,000 is part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme of events, celebrating the centenary of the author’s birth.

Making the announcement on a visit to Loanhead public library in Midlothian yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Muriel Spark is one of Scotland’s greatest authors and it is fitting that we celebrate the centenary of her birth with this donation to libraries. I’ve been an avid reader of her books since I was young and I’m very pleased that many more people will now be able to enjoy her work.

“For me, reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I hope Book Week helps to encourage people across the country to develop a love of books too.”

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, said Spark was “iconic, iconoclastic and a brilliantly rebellious female genius”.

He added: “There is no better or more fitting way to celebrate the outstanding achievement of this giant of 20th-century literature.

“This gift – made most appropriately during a Book Week Scotland that is dedicated this year to celebrating rebels – will enable generations of Scots to access, enjoy and celebrate her stories and it will ensure that the very Scottish genius of Muriel Spark finds its proper place in the hearts of readers across the country.”

Mairi Kidd, head of Literature at Creative Scotland said: “It’s great to see [the Muriel Spark 100 programme] come together in such an inspiring way, enabling people across all parts of Scotland to access the brilliant work of Muriel Spark, a critical part of Scotland’s literary landscape.”