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MANCHESTER M2: Carcanet - Muriel Spark: a celebration | 26-Jan-10

Carcanet special event

Muriel Spark: a celebration
with Professor Martin Stannard and Dr Andrew Biswell

Friday 29th January, 1-2pm in the Committee Room at Manchester Central Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester M2 5PD

'Who are you, darling?' he said. I thought it a very good question, and still do. I resolved, all those years ago, to write an autobiography which would help to explain, to myself and others: Who am I.
-- from Curriculum Vitae: A volume of Autobiography by Muriel Spark

In the latest partnership event between Carcanet and Manchester Central Library, we celebrate the remarkable life of one of the twentieth century's best-loved novelists. Muriel Spark's biographer, Professor Martin Stannard from the University of Leicester, and Dr Andrew Biswell, an expert on twentieth-century fiction and literary biography from MMU, will discuss Spark's life and work and the subject of literary biography. With readings from Spark's novels, poems and autobiography. This is a FREE event; all are welcome. Telephone 0161 834 8730 for more information.

Following the recent publication of Martin Stannard's widely acclaimed Muriel Spark: The Biography, Carcanet has reissued Spark's autobiography, Curriculum Vitae. The narrative, which is as brilliant and witty as any of her novels, begins with Spark's childhood and schooldays in Edinburgh (taught by the original 'Miss Jean Brodie') and ends in the late 1950s with the publication of her first novel, The Comforters, in 1957. 'In order to write about life as I intended to do, I felt I had first to live,' Spark says. With a characteristic lightness of touch, Spark describes the key episodes of her life: her unhappy marriage in colonial Africa, life in wartime London, working at the Foreign Office as one of the 'girls of slender means', editing Poetry Review and her conversion to Catholicism. Curriculum Vitae traces how one of the great modern writers in English emerged.

'Cast in the dye of Edinburgh's caustic morality, Ms Spark emerges as one of her own best characters.'
 -- Clare Boylan, Irish Times

Dame Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918. After some years living in Africa, she returned to England, where she edited Poetry Review from 1947 to 1949 and published her first volume of poems, The Fanfarlo, in 1952. She eventually made her home in Italy. Her many novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Girls of Slender Means (1963), A Far Cry from Kensington (1988) and The Finishing School (2004). Her short stories were collected in 1967, 1985 and 2001, and her Collected Poems appeared in 1967. Dame Muriel Spark was made Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres (France) in 1996 and awarded her DBE in 1993. She died in Italy in 2006 at the age of 88.

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