Alan Taylor, who was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, has been a journalist for more than 30 years. He was deputy editor of the Scotsman newspaper and managing editor of Scotsman Publications. He is co-founder and editor of the Scottish Review of Books. He contributes regularly to many publications, including the Times Literary Supplement and the Glasgow-based Herald. His books include The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists, Glasgow: An Autobiography and, most recently, Appointment in Arezzo, a memoir of Muriel Spark, of whom he was a friend for many years, which was published in 2017. He lives between Glasgow and the Scottish Borders, and takes every opportunity to visit Florence and environs.
It was by chance, not design, that Muriel Spark went to dwell in Tuscany. Nothing in her past suggested she was the kind of person who would embrace life in the countryside. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1918, she had lived mostly in big cities—London, New York, Rome—until she settled in the rambling, dilapidated, 14th-century […]