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April 3, 2006 | by  | in Books |
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my favourite writer is…Muriel Spark (1918-)

Dubbed the ‘Queen of Poetry’ in her high school years, Spark has always been a writer. Before her success as a novelist, she worked in journalism and publishing, writing poetry and essays, one of which grew into an excellent biography of Mary Shelley. In December 1951, her entry in The Observer’s short-story competition triumphed over nearly 7,000 other entries, which stimulated her to write fiction. The Comforters, Spark’s first novel, received stunning reviews – including one from Evelyn Waugh. This encouraged her to finish a whopping six novels in four years. Early in the 1960s, Spark left London to live in New York, where she was given her own office at The New Yorker. Considering her fellow contributors to the magazine in those days (J D Salinger, John Updike, and Vladimir Nabokov), she did rather well. Her most widely known work, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie began as a story in The New Yorker, which was admired by many and assured Spark a plentiful social life while in New York. If you haven’t read Spark before, start with the Brodie book; it’s a good example of the wit, social intelligence and humour present in all her books.

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