First details announced of Muriel Spark centenary celebration
Scotland is paying tribute to one of its most significant writers with a year-long programme of events celebrating the centenary of the birth of Dame Muriel Spark.
The first details are announced today of the Muriel Spark 100 programme as many other plans continue to be developed. Led by Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland in collaboration with a host of partner individuals, groups and organisations, today's news coincides with:
- The launch of a dedicated centenary website [Muriel Spark 100]
- The announcement of new funds for artists and groups to develop and present new work as part of the centenary year
- An open invitation from the Muriel Spark 100 organisers to any groups wishing to join the celebration.
Events and activities already confirmed include:
- The re-publication of all 22 of Spark's novels by Polygon / Birlinn (from November 2017)
- The unveiling of Spark's extraordinary archive at a landmark National Library of Scotland exhibition (December 2017 to May 2018)
- Leading Scottish writers Ali Smith, Val McDermid, Janice Galloway, Kate Clanchy and Louise Welsh reflecting on Spark's career in a new BBC Radio 3 series (January 2018)
- An international conference bringing together fans and academics to explore all aspects of Spark's writing (January / February 2018)
- Edinburgh Spy Week's spotlight on the ways in which espionage, secrecy and spying play out in her work (April 2018)
- A specially commissioned BBC Scotland / BBC4 documentary about the author's life and work (early 2018).
The initiative has been welcomed by Scotland's Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop: 'I'm really excited about the forthcoming celebration of Muriel Spark 100. Dame Muriel Spark was one of Scotland's literary giants and, to this day, her work continues to inspire generations of readers and writers and resonates with audiences across the country and beyond.
'I commend Creative Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and all the other partners involved for delivering such an engaging and varied programme of activity and I am looking forward to attending some of these events next year.'
Many plans are still being progressed. From book and film festivals, literary and art education institutions to libraries, galleries, museums — big and small — unique collaborations are being forged and new perspectives are being developed in response to Spark's life and work. As details are confirmed they will be announced through the newly launched Muriel Spark 100 website and posted through the following channels: @MurielSpark100 / #murielspark100 / facebook.com/murielspark100
Muriel Spark 100 Chair and Creative Scotland Head of Literature, Publishing and Languages, Jenny Niven said: 'The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark's birth is both a landmark moment and an unparalleled opportunity to permanently influence the way in which this leading figure of Scotland’s cultural history features in the public imagination.
'It's testament to her range and relevance that so many Scottish organisations will engage with her work and legacy throughout 2018 and we are looking forward enormously to this varied and unusual programme. Creating space for contemporary writers and artists to reflect on Muriel Spark's influence on them is also very important to this project and we hope to see some really exciting and ambitious proposals through the small grants fund in her name.'
National Librarian Dr John Scally said: 'The opportunity to celebrate the life and work of Dame Muriel Spark is as exciting a prospect as opening one of her books for the very first time. She is one of Scotland's finest ever writers and her reputation extends far beyond these shores. It is fitting therefore that the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland are marking the centenary of her birth with Muriel Spark 100 — a year-long programme of activity that promises to be lively, varied and engaging.'
There are a number of ways to get involved in Muriel Spark 100:
- Small grants of up to £1500 are available to support people and projects across a range of art forms to develop and present work. The deadline for proposals is Monday December 4, 2017 and further information is available at Creative Scotland
- For those looking to develop events or who would like to mark the centenary in some way — from exhibitions to readings, talks to screenings — contact Muriel Spark 100 Project Co-ordinator Sabrina Leruste at firstname.lastname@example.org, who can offer advice on promoting events and making connections with relevant groups.
See also related news story.
26 October 2017