Gray Matter

Alasdair Gray (1934-) is 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 is has been described by The Guardian as a landmark of 20th-century fiction. Since Lanark, Gray has published numerous novels, long and short poems, plays, and picture-biographies, and is the recipient of several awards.


His fiction tends to incorporate elements of social realism, fantasy, and science fiction, but he is also known for his political essays and socialist engagement with the press. He illustrates and designs many of his publications, and has consistently fused his literary and artistic practices. He also works collaboratively, and has 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 work has been widely translated and the display features editions from China, Korea, Spain and Germany, which act as testament to his wide-reaching appeal. 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 of these texts were given to Gray 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. Included in this display is a Bertrand Russell textbook (7) given to Gray by his father. The cover of this unique treasure bears a hand-drawn design by Gray himself, and a heartfelt message to the Glasgow School of Art Library and the students who study here.


If you would like to have a look at this material or any other titles in the Special Collections, you can request to do so here.




One thought on “Gray Matter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s