“Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. You must then live it to its fullest.” – Muriel Spark
Muriel Spark, born this day in 1918, applied that philosophy to an award-winning career as a novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist. In 2008 she was named by The Times of London as the 8th greatest British writer since World War II – a war in which she served as an Intelligence officer for the British army. It was during her Army years that she realized she had a knack for the clever use of words, and once the war was over she began a serious writing career. While serving as editor of Poetry Review magazine she authored several critically acclaimed poetry collections and books of criticism before turning to her true calling as a short story writer and novelist.
Best known for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which also was adapted as both a play and a movie, Spark lived in Britain and America before settling in Italy, where she continued writing until her death in 2006. Shortly before her death, she was awarded the Golden PEN Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.
The author of 22 novels and 21 books of nonfiction and poetry, this mother of three also wrote several best-selling children’s books. “Parents,” she said, in explaining why, “learn a lot from their children about coping with life.” Definitely providing them with many writers’ moments.
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