Muriel Spark

A Drink with Dame Edith

It was a summer day in 1957. I had published a novel, The Comforters, with some critical success. In the literary world of those days I had become the new young thing. In fact, I was not very young. I was in my late thirties. I had already published poems, stories and reviews, a critical biography of Mary Shelley and a work on the then poet laureate, John Masefield. But it was the novel The Comforters that established my name. It was greatly praised by reviewers, especially by Evelyn Waugh. It was immediately transformed into a radio play on the then prestigious Third Programme. I had been given a contract for the novel by Macmillan – a lousy contract in which they controlled radio and film rights. I was poor, very poor, with a dependent son. I had therefore to find myself an agent. I had also, during the crowded year prior to the publication of The Comforters, started my novel Robinson, to be published in 1958.

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