Alasdair Gray

1934 - 2019

Author, artist and nationalist. Born in Riddrie (Glasgow), Gray was evacuated with his mother and sister during the Second World War, first to Auchterarder (Perth and Kinross) and then Stonehouse (South Lanarkshire). After the war, he returned to his native city to be educated at Whitehill Secondary School, followed by Glasgow School of Art, from which he qualified in 1957. His novels include Lanark (1981), a contemporary tale of city life, Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1983), Something Leather (1991), Poor Things (1992), which won the Whitbread Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize, Mavis Belfrage (1997) and The Book of Prefaces (2000). He also wrote for the stage, radio and television.

A shy and modest man, he became a supporter of the Scottish National Party and a respected political thinker. He was part of the 'home rule' movement following the unsuccessful referendum for a Scottish Assembly held in 1979 and collected his thoughts in his book Why Scots Should Rule Scotland (1992).

A collection of his paintings hang in the Collins Gallery (University of Strathclyde). He was appointed Professor in the creative writing programme of the School of Scottish Studies, run jointly between the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow. He was also noted for his murals and for designing typefaces, which were often used within his work where the layout of the page was often as important as the words themselves.

He died in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (Glasgow) and will be remembered as one of Scotland's most influential writers. His archive is held by the National Library of Scotland.

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