Alasdair Gray

Alasdair Gray (born 28 December 1934 in Riddrie, Glasgow ) is a Scottish writer and artist. His most famous work is his first novel Lanark (1981 ), where he worked for over 30 years. In his works he combines realism, fantasy and science fiction. A special feature of his work is its use of typography and the involvement of his own illustrations. His political writings support the Scottish socialism and Scottish independence. The author Will Self describes him as " a creative social scientists with an integrated political- philosophical vision." He calls himself a "fat, glasses bearing, balding, aging pedestrians from Glasgow ."


Gray was born in Riddrie, in the east of Glasgow. His father was wounded in the First World War and worked in a factory. His mother was a shop assistant. During the Second World War, Gray was first evacuated to Perthshire and then to Lanarkshire. These experiences influenced his later literary works. The family lived in a community settlement and Gray got his first education from a combination of state schools, public libraries, and public broadcasting. According to Gray, " the kind of education the British governments today regard as useless, especially for children of the working class." He studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1952 to 1957, and taught there from 1958 until 1962. During his student years he began work on his novel Lanark.

After graduating Gray worked as a set designer and portrait painter and as a freelance artist and writer. His first radio and theater plays were sent on radio and television in 1968. Between 1972 and 1974 he was a member of a writers' group that was organized by Philip Hobsbaum. There he met James Kelman, Liz Lochhead and Tom Leonard.

Gray illustrates his books themselves His work includes many murals and paintings. From him comes the mural of the auditorium of the Oran Mor, Byres Road in Glasgow, one of the greatest works of art in Scotland.

In 2001 he was a candidate for the post of Rector of University of Glasgow as the candidate of the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association. He was only just beaten by Greg Hemphill.

Gray is married to his second wife Morag McAlpine since 1991. His first marriage with Inge Sorenson lasted from 1961 to 1970. He has a son, Andrew, who was born in 1964. Gray still lives in Glasgow.


  • "It is plain did the vaster the social unit, the less possible is true democracy. " Lanark, page 289
  • "Who did the council fight? "



  • Lanark 1981 ( German Lanark 1992).
  • 1982, Janine 1984 ( German Janine, 1982, 1989).
  • The Fall of Kelvin Walker 1985.
  • McGrotty and Ludmilla 1989.
  • Something Leather 1990.
  • Poor Things 1992 ( German arms Dinger 1996).
  • A History Maker 1994 ( German One of the history-making 2000).
  • Mavis Belfrage 1996.

Short stories

  • The Star 1951.
  • Lean Tales, 1985 ( with James Kelman and Agnes Owens )
  • Unlikely Stories, Mostly 1983.
  • Ten Tales Tall and True 1993 ( German Ten times Lug & Trug 1995).
  • Mavis Belfrage 1996.
  • The Ends of Our Tethers 2003.


  • Old Negatives 1989.
  • Sixteen Occasional Poems 2000.


  • Why Scots Should Rule Scotland 1992.
  • The Book of Prefaces 2000.
  • Alasdair Gray: Critical Appreciations and a Bibliography ( 2001; includes Contributions by Gray himself. )