Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918. A poet, essayist, biographer and novelist, she won much international praise, including being twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Times placed her eighth in its list of the Fifty Greatest British Writers Since 1945. She died in Tuscany in 2006. Allan Massie CBE (born 1938) is a Scottish journalist, columnist, sports writer and novelist. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has lived in the Scottish Borders for the last twenty-five years.