In late 2017 Creative Scotland launched the Endless Different Ways micro-fund awards to celebrate Dame Muriel’s work and legacy. Twelve artists/organisations were awarded grants to develop and deliver ideas inspired by Muriel Spark – from new creations to research, residencies and publications.
Performer and composer Jessica Danz is creating a new work for violin and string quartet inspired by a selection of Muriel Spark’s poetry, which will be performed at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh on the 14 November 2018. Jessica will appear as a solo violinist alongside the Brodick Quartet, an ensemble comprised of four of Scotland’s most outstanding young string players.
For more information: https://www.jessicadanz.com/ @jessicadanzmusic
Writer Janice Galloway, a life-long Spark fan, wanted to put together some thoughts on the life and work of this most distinctive of authorial voices. In her own words: “Spark’s distinctly female observations on the wilfulness, horror and comedy of everyday (and not-so-everyday) human lives is in a class of its own, yet these days seems to reference Miss Jean Brodie more than anything else. There’s a lot else. I wanted to be a source of information, cheer, and excitement at the vividness and wonderfully dark sense of humour Spark offers not just the Scottish soul, but all of us in this present mess of moral outrage, political fireworks, and selfish excess.”
For more information: https://www.janicegalloway.net/
In The Go Away Bird – A Creative Response performance artists Belle Jones and Beldina Odenyo shared their response to Spark’s novella of the same name. Set in South Africa in the early 20th century The Go Away Bird touches on many issues such as race, violence against women and exploitation which are still hugely relevant today. Jones’ and Odenyo’s response looked at presenting the story against the historical backdrop of South Africa during that period and in the subsequent years up until this centenary year of both Sparks’ and Nelson Mandela’s birth. The sharing took the form of an installation at Glasgow’s Old Hairdressers using found objects, photographs, film footage and live music.
For more information: www.bellejones.co.uk @heirofthecursed
Raymond MacDonald created a new 40-minute suite of music inspired by the writings of Muriel Spark. This new work was premiered at the Glasgow Jazz Festival and was performed by some of Scotland’s leading musicians. The pieces include conventionally written material, graphic notation developed using Muriel Spark’s drawings and doodles, handmade Italian goat bells and specialized conduction techniques all exploring the relationship between improvisation and composition.
More information: https://www.eca.ed.ac.uk/profile/prof-raymond-macdonald
Poet and critic Theresa Muñoz is writing a poetry sequence about the letters in the Muriel Spark archive housed in the National Library of Scotland. Why We Love You explores Muriel’s fan letters, her correspondence with her family, and famous items such as the telegram from Maggie Smith after she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. A workshop about using archives in creating poetry, entitled Memento Muriel, will take place at the Scottish Poetry Library on 6 October 2018.
More information: http://www.theresamunoz.com/ @munozpoems
Author Tracey S. Rosenberg engaged with Spark’s Jewish identity by visiting Jerusalem to write in situ, responding to Spark’s 1965 novel The Mandelbaum Gate with a short literary work. Titled “The Western Wall”, her story explores the approaches taken by three young Jewish women from very different backgrounds. Rosenberg will be reading the story at various events this autumn, thanks to the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and the Scottish Book Trust.
More information: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/tracey-s-rosenberg
Tracey S Rosenberg @tsrosenberg
PASSENGERS is a solo exhibition of new work by artist Kristian Smith, the only visual arts recipient of an Endless Different Ways award. An installation of new work in photography and collage will reflect diverse themes relating to the life and work of Muriel Spark, from her literary influences and views on ecology to Catholicism and her close personal relationships. In early 2018 Kristian Smith undertook an artist residency in Tuscany, Italy to make new work and develop the exhibition, which will be presented in the newly renovated gallery space of the historic Custom House in Leith, Edinburgh from 6 to 12 October 2018.
More information: www.blanktitle.co.uk
For their project Necessarily Looking Backward, StAnza commissioned a number of poets to write new poems responding to favourite quotes from Muriel Spark’s novels. Participating writers included Andrew Blair, Lynn Coffin, Patrick James Errington, Sally Evans, Lindsay Macgregor, and Catherine Wilson. As well as a reading event during StAnza Festival in March 2018, a digital installation of the poems was displayed at The Byre Theatre during the Festival. A free eBook of the work created for the project is available here.
More information: http://stanzapoetry.org/festival @stanzapoetry
Shane Strachan’s project is the creation of several new short stories inspired by Spark’s time in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia). In 1938, Spark gave birth to her son in Lady Rodwell Nursing Home, the same hospital Shane worked in on an arts-in-health project in 2015 and 2016. The stories flit between this intriguingly underwritten period of Spark’s life and contemporary Bulawayo. Read more about Shane’s story collection Nevertheless: Sparkian Tales in Buloawayo, and order your copy here. For more information: www.shanestrachan.com @Shane_Strachan
What Would Muriel Do? is a new piece of theatre currently in development by Tidy Carnage. Part stand-up comedy show, part therapy session, part evening with some of Spark’s characters, it’s a funny and bizarre tribute to the unique and marvellous women that Spark created in her novels. Created by Allie Winton Butler and Sarah McCardie.
More information: www.tidycarnage.com @tidycarnage
Focusing on the correspondence, notebooks and diaries of Muriel Spark, Christine Brooke-Rose, Ann Quin and Anna Kavan, Hannah Van Hove’s essay aims to explore what it meant to be an experimental woman writer in mid-twentieth century Britain whilst reflecting on the experiences of navigating the archival research process itself. For this project, she has collaborated with the National Library of Scotland, the Glasgow Women’s Library and MAP Magazine.
More information: https://womenslibrary.org.uk/2018/05/17/muriel-spark-what-is-this-im-reading/ @HannahVanHove
Morna Young has been inspired by two works of Muriel Spark – her novel The Public Image and essay My Rome. Using sites from the essay, Young will write in situ to explore themes of identity and image that are central to the novel. Young will use this writing as the foundation for a contemporary stage play.
More information: www.mornayoung.com