Dame Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in February 1918. Her first novel, The Comforters was published in 1957. Her other novels included The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Loitering with Intent which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She also wrote a number of collections of poetry and critical works. She was awarded honorary degrees from the Universities of Aberdeen, Strathclyde, St Andrews, Edinburgh, London, Oxford and The American University of Paris. In 1993, Spark was made a Dame of the British Empire and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres and, in 1997, she received the David Cohen British Literature Prize for Lifetime Achievement and in 2005 was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize. Dame Muriel Spark died at her home in Tuscany in April, 2006.