Muriel Spark's close friend, journalist Alan Taylor
Muriel Spark's close friend, journalist Alan Taylor

Learn about Muriel Spark from one of her closest friends

The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark later this month with a special talk given by the world-famous Scottish author’s close friend and journalist, Alan Taylor.

Hosted by Aberdeen City Libraries, the event, entitled A Friendship with Muriel Spark, charts Alan’s friendship with Dame Muriel from the time he first interviewed her at home in Tuscany until her death in 2006.

Alan accompanied the creator of Miss Jean Brodie on her trips abroad and on family holidays in her Italian home, giving him a unique insight into the character of one of Scotland’s best-loved novelists.

At this special, free event, Alan will be talking with wife and fellow journalist Rosemary Goring and discussing extracts from his book, Appointment in Arrezzo which explores his friendship with the renowned author whose 22 works included: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, The Abbess of Crewe, The Mandelbaum Gate, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Memento Mori and her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae.

Alan said: ‘In this, the 100th anniversary of her birth, the genius of Muriel Spark is being celebrated worldwide, from New Zealand to New York.

Muriel Spark’s close friend, journalist Alan Taylor

‘Of course, she was – as she herself never tired of saying – “Scottish by formation”.’

‘2018 has been dubbed ‘the year of Spark’ and countless events are planned in her honour across Scotland, including this one in Aberdeen where once upon a time she was delighted to receive an honorary degree.’

Councillor John Wheeler, the council’s education operational delivery convener, said: ‘This promises to be a fascinating talk about one of the greatest Scottish writers.

‘I’m sure Alan’s talk will be hugely popular and full of the pawky wit which was a hallmark of Dame Muriel’s writing.’

A Friendship with Muriel Spark takes place at the Central Library on Monday 23 April from 6-7.30pm. The free, hour-long talk will be followed by a Q&A session and copies of Alan’s book will be available for purchase.

For more information or to book a place contact Aberdeen City Libraries on 01224 652500 or email This event is part of Muriel Spark 100 centenary programme. More information is available HERE.