Muriel in the early 1950s - photo by Mark Gerson
Muriel Spark

getting published

into the world
getting published
first novels
finest work
a lasting impression
in translation
a bibliography

I had a love of writing which was becoming an imperative in my life. With an idea developing in my head, a pen in my hand and a notebook open before me I was in bliss

('Curriculum Vitae')


Photo by Mark Gerson
used with kind permission

 When peace came in 1945, Muriel Spark began her critical apprenticeship as a journalist at 'Argentor', the official journal of the National Jewellers' Association, and started writing seriously. She was already becoming well-known by the time she took up the post of editor of the 'Poetry Review', the journal of the Poetry Society.

Muriel left the Poetry Society after a disagreement over her policy of publishing new writers. Her own writing was becoming more important, with the encouragement of supporters such as established author Graham Greene. This was a turning point in her life, not least because it was now that she decided to create her archive.

In December 1951, her entry in 'The Observer' newspaper's short-story competition triumphed over nearly 7,000 others to take first prize. The success of 'The Seraph and The Zambesi' stimulated her to write fiction.

Muriel the poet had her first collection of poems, 'The Fanfarlo and Other Verse', published in 1952. Aside from poetry, she was producing articles and books of criticism at this point in the early 1950s. Extensive reading and research resulted in her writing seven critical studies and editions – on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Emily Brontë, William Wordsworth, and John Masefield – in the period leading up to her crucial decision to join the Roman Catholic Church in 1954.

Examples from our archive
Notebook Despatch book British Library ticket Poetry notebook 'Curriculum Vitae' typescript
an early notebook despatch book British Library ticket a poetry notebook curriculum vitae

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