Muriel Spark (1918-2006) was born in Edinburgh, the daughter of Bernard and Sarah Camberg. She attended what was then James Gillespie's High School for Girls — a formative time that she considered a most fortunate experience for a future writer.

Gillespie's was the model for the Marcia Blaine School in 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. One teacher in particular, Miss Christina Kay, was the inspiration for Muriel Spark's most famous creation — the Edinburgh schoolmistress Jean Brodie. Although the unconventional fictional character was in some ways unlike her real life model, Muriel felt that Miss Kay 'had it in her, unrealised, to be the character I invented.'

Muriel was known as the school's 'poet and dreamer'. Her poems appeared regularly in the school magazine, and she was crowned 'Queen of Poetry' in 1932.