Muriel Spark centenary

Muriel Spark’s first novel

This year is the centenary of the Muriel Spark’s birth.

The novelist was born in Edinburgh on 1 February 1918.

She died in 2006.

Her complicated and at first stressful adult life saw her living at many addresses.

One was Aylesford Priory on the Pilgrims’ Way where she arrived in October 1954.

After a short time at the guest house, where pilgrims stay today, she moved to  cottage owned by the monastery at nearby Allington Castle.

By the middle of the following year she had completed five chapters of her first novel The Comforters which is loosely based on Aylesford.

She went to Aylesford at the suggestion of Graham Greene who she never met although he sent her money to help her recover from nervous collapse.

Aylesford Prior Fr Francis Kemsley recently wrote in The Tablet that Muriel Spark was captivated by his predecessor Fr Malachy Lynch.

In later years she often visited Aylesford when returning to England from her home in Italy.

Most centenary events are being held in Scotland where there is  special exhibition at the National Library.




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