Muriel Spark was born and educated in Edinburgh. Active in the field of creative writing from 1950 (after winning a short-story competition in the Observer), her many subsequent novels and stories, such as Memento Mori, The Girls of Slender Means, The Only Problem, A Far Cry From Kensington and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (adapted successfully for both film and theatre), remain phenomenally popular throughout the world. She also wrote plays, poems and children's books as well as biographies of Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte and John Masefield. Her first autobiographical volume, Curriculum Vitae, was published in 1992. She was elected C.Litt. in 1992 and was awarded the DBE in 1993.
During her lifetime she received many awards, including; the Italia Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the FNAC Prix Etranger, the Saltire Prize, the Ingersoll T. S. Eliot Award and the David Cohen British Literature Prize in recognition of a lifetime's literary achievement. She was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1978 and Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 1996. Dame Muriel Spark died in 2006.