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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. Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. She studied at the University of Aberdeen and Newham College, Cambridge. Her first book, Free Love and Other Stories (1995) won the Saltire First Book of the Year award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award. Her novel Autumn was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker. She lives in Cambridge.