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Muriel Spark
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    (February 1, 1918-April 13, 2006)
    Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Muriel Camberg
    Wrote the novels 'Memento Mori' (1959), 'The Ballad of Peckham Rye' (1960), 'The Bachelors' (1960), 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' (1961), 'The Girls of Slender Means' (1963), 'The Public Image' (1968), 'The Driver's Seat' (1970), 'The Takeover' (1976), 'Loitering with Intent' (1981), 'A Far Cry from Kensington' (1988), 'Symposium' (1990), Aiding and Abetting' (2004) and 'The Finishing School' (2006)
    Named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1993)
    She suffered an emotional breakdown, brought on partly by abusing diet pills (1954).
    She became convinced T.S. Eliot was sending her secret messages in his poems.
    She left Britain for exile in America and Italy, claiming she had to get away from old friends who were alienated by her sudden success (1963).
    She became estranged from her son, partly because he embraced Judaism at the same time that she converted to Catholicism.
    She said of her son, 'He's never done anything for me, except for being one big bore.'
    At 14, she won a poetry competition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Scott.
    She said of her violent, manic-depressive husband, 'He became a borderline case, and I didn't like what I found on either side of the border.'
    She produced propaganda for British intelligence during World War II.
    She was fired as editor of 'Poetry Review' for championing modernist poetry and ending the practice of accepting payments from authors (1949).
    Her novels are alternately bleak and witty, prompting a critic to call her a 'profoundly serious comic writer.'
    Asked what literary movement she fit into, she replied, 'Sometimes one makes one's own category, you know.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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