First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon Visits Fudan and Attends Muriel Spark Centennial Celebration

On the afternoon of April 12, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, visited Fudan University and attended the Centennial Celebration of the Sottish female writer Muriel Spark at Guanghua Tower. Jiao Yang, Secretary of the Party Committee of Fudan University, attended the event and delivered a speech.

Muriel Spark is one of the most influential female authors in Scotland and even in the world, and the year 2018 not only marks the centennial anniversary of Muriel Spark, but will witness the republication of her works in China. The Celebration has attracted nearly 100 people from Fudan and beyond.

During the Celebration, Nicola Sturgeon presented the first ten reprints of Muriel Spark as gifts to Fudan University.

The Spark Centennial Celebration was jointly sponsored by the British Council and the Foreign Affairs Office of Fudan University. The guests presented at the Celebration included Chen Wen, Director of the Foreign Affairs Office, Carma Elliot, Director China of the British Council and Minister of the British Embassy, Nicolas Marchand, Director of the British Council and Northeast Asia Art Project and Counselor of the British Embassy, Matthew Knowles, Director East China of the British Council and Consul General of Culture and Education of British Consulate-General Shanghai, Martin McDermott, First Secretary of Scottish Affairs of the British Embassy, Professor Lu Li’an, Associate Dean of Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Professor Wang Hongtu of Chinese Language and Culture Department, Scottish writers Claire McFall and Louise Welsh, Jenny Niven, Head of Literature of Creative Scotland, and other guests from the Scottish government and the British Council. Among the guests, Carma Elliot is an alumna of Fudan University and the initiator and leader of the project “Inspiring Women”. Elliot hoped this event would serve an opportunity for the female artists in Chinese and British to cooperate and learn from one another, help female artists to fully bring out their talents, and further develop the cultural and creative industries of the two countries.

The topic for the first talk of the Celebration was “Why do I read?”, with Jenny Niven as the host and Nicola Sturgeon and Louise Welsh as guests. The two guests each narrated the own mentality in reading Spark’s works. They introduced to the Chinese audience the Scottish characteristics and literary features in Spark’s novels, and further gave some reading suggestions for Chinese readers who encountered Spark’s works for the first time.

The topic for the second talk of the Celebration was “How the story spreads”, with Claire McFall, Professor Wang Hongtu, and Chinese writer Jing Xing as guests of talk. The three distinguished guests are not only fans of Spark, but also literary creators themselves. They briefly introduced their respective writing experiences, and then offered insightful understanding about the writing in foreign languages from the perspectives of life and international exchanges.