© Jerry Bauer.
From 1975 onwards Muriel Spark spent much of her time in Tuscany, and by 1985 it was home.
She spent the last decades of her life there with Penelope Jardine, her closest friend. Spark enjoyed the relative peace and quiet, and continued writing until close to her death in 2006.
Books and poetry
During this period Spark wrote five novels, her autobiography, more poetry and even, briefly, an online diary.
'A Far Cry from Kensington', published in 1988, contains possibly the finest evocation of her London bedsit lifestyle. In contrast 'Aiding and Abetting' draws on the infamous news story of the disappearance of Lord Lucan in 1974, following the murder of the family' nanny.
Early life recorded
In her autobiography 'Curriculum Vitae', Spark retraces her early years. It draws to a tantalising close with the publication of her first novel in 1957.
Spark wanted a film made of her early life, based on 'Curriculum Vitae' and her novel 'Loitering with Intent'. She wrote: 'I am sure this is the right thing. A film of this nature is very much what I want'.
Among the 'Tuscany' items in the Muriel Spark exhibition are:
- The manuscript of 'Curriculum Vitae'
- Correspondence with Jackie Onassis
- Correspondence with Beryl Bainbridge
- Correspondence with Gore Vidal
- A letter from George Mackay Brown
- A restaurant bill and receipts for drinks — examples of how Spark threw nothing away
- A press release about a possible film of Spark's life.