Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh 1918, before spending a number of years in central Africa. She was the author of several novels, plays, poetry collections and short stories. Her books include Loitering with Intent, Reality and Dreams, The Public Image and the classic The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. She was also the editor of Poetry Review and worked in collaboration on several biographies, and was shortlisted for and won many awards. She lived in New York for many years and moved to Italy in later life. She died in 2006 at the age of 88.