Dame Muriel Spark (1918-2006) was born and educated in Edinburgh, before spending a number of years in central Africa. Although she's probably best known for her novels, she was also a prolific and highly successful writer in other mediums too, producing a multitude of plays, poetry collections and short stories. Her immersion in the literary world even extended to include a period as the editor of Poetry Review and a stint working collaboratively on several biographies. Such was the extent of her literary achievements, and the admiration of her peers, that she was honoured with a great many prizes and doctorates during her lifetime. Her obituary in the Telegraph remembered her as 'one of the most elegant and incisive of British novelists, famous for her astringent, vigorous prose and for the sinister and disorientating quality of her plots.'