vISITING London last V week for the publication of her latest novel The Driving Seat Muriel Spark gave some original thoughts on the state of the Church since the days of her conversion in 1954.
She feels that many Catholics are becoming alienated from the Vatican. "I think the Pope has been unfairly criticised. It is hard for him to have to carry out what Pope John started. He has a bureaucratic task that is far bigger than before and he has to contend with the administrative side."
Mrs. Spark first made her name as a critic:, with several books on Emily Bronte and studies of Wordsworth, John Masetield and Mary Shelley. She was also general secretary of the Poetry Society and editor of the Poetry Review from 1947.49 and has edited the letters of Cardinal Newman.
"All my critical faculties, I hope, go into my novels," she said. She has utilised her gift for what a critic has called "enigmatic satire" in such successful fiction as Memento Mori, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, The Prime of Miss. lean Brodie and the Mandelbaum Gate.
Mrs. Spark's advice to would-he writers was clear cut and definite. "Practice, practice. practice," she said. "Read as much as possible. Try to sell your work in America as it is hard to gel enough money out of the English market to he able to support oneself or a family while finding the time to write."
She emphasised the necessity to give up a lot of time to the business of writing. "Try the American market
first," s h e reiterated. "It sounds unfair but that's the way it is."