Photographs from Muriel at the Usher Hall

February 13, 2018

New photographs have been made available from the Usher Hall Centenary celebration for Muriel Spark, January 2018.  With thanks to Alan McCredie, Edinburgh International Book Festival

Emerging Critics is Back!

February 12, 2018

‘I would recommend this programme… it is incredibly supportive and interesting with a varied curriculum, interesting recommended reading, and full of great networking opportunities’ – Participating Mentee, 2016/17 Following the success of the first Emerging Critics programme, we are back! This...

Mistress of Unease

February 10, 2018
by Stewart Conn

Muriel Spark merits scrutiny both for her poetry and for her concern with poetry as a craft – not least given the number of admirers and commentators on her work apparently unaware of her poetic output, far less her continued commitment to it. Her 1999 broadcast talk ‘The Art of Verse’ opens: ‘Verse...


February 10, 2018

NO CAUSE FOR ALARM O little clock you watch me falling asleep. O little clock you follow at a safe distance my night wanderings through the ruins. O little clock you stare at me waking with a glance as quizzical and bright as Venus. Good morning to you too, little star. SHIRT Old shirt whose arms have...

In Her Own Words

February 10, 2018
by Muriel Spark

THE COMFORTERS They called him the Baron because he called himself Baron Stock. Caroline was not aware from what aristocracy he derived his title: nor had anyone inquired; she was sure it was not self-imposed as some sug gested. He came originally from the Belgian Congo, had travelled in the Near East,...

Volume 13 Issue 1 Editorial

February 10, 2018
by Alan Taylor

MURIEL Spark, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate in this special issue of the Scottish Review of Books, left her native heath in 1937 not knowing when, if ever, she was likely to return. She was still a teenager and eager to see what lay beyond Edinburgh’s vertiginous tenements, greasy, gleaming...

Memento Mori

February 10, 2018
by Zoë Strachan

One of the many delights of a Muriel Spark novel is the way in which the ground shifts so delicately under the reader’s feet. Memento Mori begins as a mystery: who is victimising elderly people by making anonymous phone calls suggesting that they remember they must die? A detective is consulted,...

SRB DIARY: On Fowles and Fowl

February 10, 2018
by Brian Morton

Something happened, a little before Christmas, that made me re-read, for the first time in forty years, John Fowles’s Daniel Martin. I didn’t entirely appreciate it first time round. The novel’s grown-upness lies in wait for you. What I did remember, apart from Fowles’s brilliant manipulation...

Endangered Species

February 10, 2018
by Kirsty Gunn

The essay is an attractive option for addressing a huge range of subjects in a kind of prose that may be casual and simple, or scientific, ornate or allusive. It has no rules. It is demotic or rhetorical, compact or discursive, or all of these. Its only requirement is, as the word suggests – from...

Doctors of Philosophy

February 10, 2018
by Joseph Farrell

The opening of Muriel Spark’s only play, Doctors of Philosophy, is sufficiently and deceptively familiar to mislead readers and spectators, but it quickly swerves away to transport them into the distinctive landscape and mindscape inhabited by Spark’s characters, a territory where nothing is quite...