Muriel Spark originally worked as a secretary and then a poet and literary journalist. She was completely unknown and impoverished until she started her career as a story writer and novelist. From 1957, and the appearance of her first novel, she was warmly applauded by many famous writers of the day including Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, W. H. Auden, Aldous Huxley, Somerset Maugham, Lord David Cecil and hosts of others in the literary establishment.
Her novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was published in its entirety in the New Yorker, was made into a play on Broadway and the West End of London and then a famous film for which Maggie Smith won an Oscar.
Muriel Spark was created a Dame in 1993. She received many honorary degrees from universities – London, Edinburgh, Oxford, to name a few – and was awarded countless prizes and honours, both international and national, as well as being translated into all major languages. There is a flourishing Muriel Spark Society based in her birthplace, Edinburgh.
She died on 13 April 2006, aged eighty-eight.