Scots author Alasdair Gray dies at the age of 85

Scots author Alasdair Gray dies at the age of 85


Alasdair GrayImage copyright
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The Glasgow author will leave his body to science

Renowned Scottish author and artist Alasdair Gray has died, his publisher has confirmed.

The 85-year-old was known for novels such as Lanark (1981) and the award-winning Poor Things (1992), which are both set in Glasgow where he was born.

His public murals are visible across the city, with further pieces on display in the V&A and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

He died on Sunday at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

His family said he wanted to leave his body to science so there would be no funeral.

‘Extraordinary person’

Relatives released a statement through Mr Gray’s publisher Canongate. It said: “Early this morning we lost a deeply loved member of our family. Alasdair was an extraordinary person; very talented and, even more importantly, very humane.

“He was unique and irreplaceable and we will miss him greatly. We would like to thank Alasdair’s many friends for their love and support, especially in recent years.

“Together with the staff of the Queen Elizabeth hospital, Glasgow, who treated him and us with such care and sensitivity during his short illness.”

The author’s death comes the day after his 85th birthday.

Francis Bickmore, Gray’s editor and publishing director at Canongate, said: “What sad news this is that Alasdair Gray is gone. It seems hard to believe that Alasdair was mortal and might ever leave us.

“No one single figure has left such a varied legacy – or missed so many deadlines – as Alasdair Gray.

“At least through Gray’s phenomenal body of work he leaves a legacy that will outlive us all. His voice of solidarity and compassion for his fellow citizens, and his forward-looking vision is cause for great celebration and remembrance.”

His agent Jenny Brown said: “We mourn Alasdair Gray’s passing, but his genius will live on for readers through his remarkable work.

“He was a cultural trailblazer: nobody has done more to spur on, and give confidence to, the next generation of Scottish writers.”

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He has been described as “one of Scotland’s literary giants”

One of the artist’s most famous murals spans the ceiling of the Oran Mor pub and restaurant in the west end of Glasgow.

A writer in residence at the University of Glasgow in the 1970s, Mr Gray was described as a “strong and close friend” of the institution.

University principal professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said: “Alasdair Gray was one of the true greats of Scottish art and literature.

“It is with great sadness that we mark his passing, but the many works he produced, from his magnificent novel Lanark to the inspiring murals that adorn the city ensure that his legacy will live on for many years to come.”


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