Nicola Sturgeon joins Muriel Spark centenary event line-up

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will join writers Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin for a special event in Edinburgh later this month to celebrate the life and work of Dame Muriel Spark.

Ms Sturgeon, a fan of the renowned author, will take part in the specially-commissioned presentation of readings, performance and conversation to mark the centenary of Spark's birth.

Organised by the Edinburgh International Book Festival in partnership with the Lyceum Theatre and publisher Birlinn, Muriel Spark: Creme de la Creme will take place at the Usher Hall on January 31.

McCall Smith will read a poem he has written for the occasion and, for the first time since 1963, Spark's play Doctors of Philosophy will be presented on stage through performed extracts featuring Maureen Beattie, Peter Forbes and Moyo Akande.

Alan Taylor, Spark's friend and a literary critic, and Rosemary Goring, a literary editor, will also take part.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie writer, who wrote 22 novels, died on April 15 2006, aged 88.

Her life is being celebrated with a series of Muriel Spark 100 events taking place throughout Scotland in this centenary year.

Spark, who made her final visit to Edinburgh to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2004, was also a poet, playwright, essayist and literary critic whose work has influenced a generation of Scottish writers.