Saint Andrea of the Apostle Churchyard Oliveto, Provincia di Arezzo, Toscana, Italy
Dame Muriel Sarah Spark DBE, CLit, FRSE, FRSL (née Camberg; 1 February 1918 – 13 April 2006) was a Scottish novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist. In 2008, The Times named Spark as No. 8 in its list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
After living in New York City for some years, she moved to Rome, where she met artist and sculptor Penelope Jardine in 1968. In the early 1970s they settled in Tuscany, in the village of Oliveto, of which in 2005 Spark was made an honorary citizen. She was the subject of frequent rumours of lesbian relationships from her time in New York onwards, although Spark and her friends denied their validity. She left her entire estate to Jardine, taking measures to ensure that her son received nothing. Spark died in 2006 and is buried in the cemetery of Sant'Andrea Apostolo in Oliveto.
Spark refused permission for a biography of her written by Martin Stannard to be published. Penelope Jardine now holds publication approval rights, and the book was published in July 2009. On 27 July 2009 Stannard was interviewed on Front Row, the BBC Radio 4 arts programme. According to A. S. Byatt, "she [Jardine] was very upset by the book and had to spend a lot of time going through it, line by line, to try to make it a little bit fairer".