Gray, Alasdair

▪ Scottish novelist, playwright, and artist
born Dec. 28, 1934, East Glasgow, Scot.

      Scottish novelist, playwright, and artist best known for his novel Lanark (1981).

      Gray's family was evacuated from Glasgow during World War II. He later returned to attend Whitehill Senior Secondary School, where he wrote and drew for the school magazine, and the Glasgow School of Art. He went on to work as a muralist and a scene painter for local theatres. Throughout the 1960s and '70s he also wrote plays for television, radio, and the stage, all the while working on a novel that would be decades in the making. When he finally published Lanark, his first book, it was hailed as a landmark of Scottish literature.

      Subsequent works include Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1983), 1982, Janine (1984), The Fall of Kelvin Walker (1985), and Poor Things (1992). In 2000 Gray edited The Book of Prefaces, which he also designed and illustrated, and he began restoring murals he had painted in the 1970s. In 2001 he became a professor of creative writing at Glasgow University. Throughout his career, Gray's murals, writings, and political activism endorsed socialism, opposed war and nuclear arms, and advocated Scottish independence.

Additional Reading
Rodge Glass, Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography (2008).

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Universalium. 2010.

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