© Jerry Bauer.
In 1969 Muriel Spark was at the height of her success.
She had published nine acclaimed novels and a range of short stories and poetry, and was winning literary prizes.
The stage adaptation of 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' was a hit in London's West End and on Broadway, and the film version had just won an Oscar for Maggie Smith.
Spark's love affair with Rome began in 1966, and she settled there in 1967.
Being in Rome allowed Spark to indulge her love of stylish living. Throughout her years in the Italian capital she balanced a lifestyle of parties and revelry with a literary output of the highest order.
The Rome years also show Spark in her most experimental phase. 'The Driver's Seat', published in 1970, was her most shocking work and her personal favourite.
At the same time, she mined both her own experiences and newsworthy world events to fashion comic masterworks such as 'Loitering with Intent' and 'The Abbess of Crewe'.
From 1975-1985, Spark would divide her time between Rome and Tuscany.
Among the 'Rome' items in the Muriel Spark exhibition are:
- The manuscript of 'The Driver's Seat', on loan from the University of Tulsa
- A letter from Liz Taylor about the lead role in the film of 'The Driver's Seat'
- Correspondence with Alex Guinness about a role that Spark wrote with him in mind
- An invitation to meet Pat Nixon, First Lady of the United States.