1st February 1918

Author Muriel Spark is born

Best known for her novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark was born Muriel Camberg, in Edinburgh, and educated at Heriot-Watt College. She had a variety of jobs before moving to Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia) and marrying Sidney Spark. She returned to Britain towards the end of the Second World War.

Her obituary in The Guardian of 27 April 2006 outlines how “Muriel Spark found her voice comparatively late in a hitherto difficult life. She was 39, a struggling single mother and recently recovered from a serious breakdown when the first of her more than 20 novels, The Comforters, was published in 1957. Fortunately for her and her readers, this voice arrived fully fledged, and proved to be remarkably reliable.”

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Between then and the end of her life, she published a substantial body of work, of which The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie has emerged as the most notable. Set in 1930s Edinburgh, it was published in 1961 and focuses on the titular character – a teacher called Jean Brodie – whose lesson plans focus more on herself and her own experiences than what might be considered a conventional curriculum. The novel was later made into a film starring Maggie Smith, who played Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films. Smith won an Oscar for her portrayal.

Spark moved to Italy in the mid-1970s and remained there until her death in Florence in 2006. She was 88.



Other events that occured in February

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