We've had a look at some of the One Hundred Writers in One Box (posts here, here and here), but they are all photographs of writers, what about painted portraits for a change? I thought it might be fun to start an occasional series of images of authors and see where that leads us, so I'm beginning today, on what would have been her 94th. birthday, with Muriel Spark as painted very strikingly by Alexander Moffat.
In 2004, some years after this picture was painted, I went to hear Dame Muriel speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She was very much as I had expected, the sharp wit, the smiling countenance, the soft Scottish accent - but the inner core of steel, I suspect - and she was obviously savouring the adulation she got from her audience that day (you can read about it in this article). Has anyone read Martin Stannard's biography of her? I'd be keen to know more about the complex person behind the books. As to her most famous creation, here's a clip of fellow Edinburgh author Ian Rankin (whose doctoral studies were on Muriel Spark) talking about The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.