Special Collections: Alasdair Gray

Portrait of Alan Fletcher (1950) by Alasdair Gray (GSA Archives)

Alasdair Gray (1950) Portrait of Alan Fletcher (GSA Archives)

Alasdair Gray (1934-2019) was one of Scotland’s foremost writers and artists. His first novel, Lanark, was published in 1981 and was the culmination of over 30 years’ work. It has been described by The Guardian as a landmark of 20th-century fiction. Gray went on to publish numerous novels, long and short poems, plays, and picture-biographies, and was the recipient of several awards. His fiction tends to incorporate elements of social realism, fantasy, and science fiction. He illustrated and designed many of his publications, and consistently fused his literary and artistic practices. He also worked collaboratively, and provided illustrations and covers for many other artists, writers and historians. He studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1952 to 1957, and taught here from 1958 to 1962.

GSA Library holds a number of first editions, uncorrected proofs, and foreign editions of Gray’s novels, plays and poems, along with publications from his own Dog & Bone Press. All were donated by Gray himself in February 2015. Gray’s gift also includes a number of books by other writers that he avidly read and was inspired by as a child and student. Many were given to him by his father, or came from the Readers’ Union book club to which his father subscribed. Others were read at Riddrie Public Library, which Gray would visit at least three times a week.