Alasdair Gray is the Glasgow-born writer and artist responsible for the stunning ceiling mural in The Auditorium, one of the largest pieces of public art in Scotland, commissioned for Òran Mór by Colin Beattie.
His most acclaimed novel is Lanark, published in 1981 and written over a period of almost 30 years. It is now regarded as a classic, and was described by The Guardian as “one of the landmarks of 20th-century fiction.” His novel Poor Things (1992) won the Whitbread Prize and the Guardian Fiction Prize.
Gray was born in the Riddrie area of Glasgow. During the Second World War he was evacuated to Perthshire, then Lanarkshire, experiences which he drew on in his later fiction. His family lived on a council estate, and Gray received his education from a combination of state education, public libraries and public service broadcasting.
He studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1952 to 1957, and taught there from 1958 to 1962. It was as a student that he first embarked on what would become his novel Lanark.
After his graduation Gray worked as a scene and portrait painter, as well as an independent artist and writer. His first plays were broadcast on radio and television in 1968. Between 1972 and 1974 he participated in a writing group organised by Philip Hobsbaum, where he met James Kelman, Liz Lochhead and Tom Leonard. From 1977 to 1979 he was Writer in Residence at Glasgow University and in 2001 he became, with Tom Leonard and James Kelman, joint Professor of the Creative Writing programme at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities.
His art was celebrated in 2015 with a major retrospective exhibition at the Kelvingrove.
Alasdair’s first London show ALASDAIR GRAY’s Life in Pictures: the Exhibition. Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 1951 – 2017 opened at the Coningsby Gallery and ran until 12th August 2017.
Three new works by Alasdair were recently displayed at Glasgow Print Studio as part of their Masters exhibition.
Photo: Colin Mearns