The life and work of one of Scotland’s most influential creatives will be celebrated in the inaugural Gray Day.
The Alasdair Gray Archive hopes the event, which takes place on the 40th anniversary of the publication of the artist and writer’s seminal novel Lanark, will become an annual commemoration.
An online broadcast on February 27th from Glasgow’s Oran Mor will feature readings, conversation and music with appearances from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Denise Mina, Alan Cumming and Ewen Bremner.
Sorcha Dallas, of The Alasdair Gray Archive, said: “Gray Day was born of a desire to foster a continued dialogue with Alasdair through the rich and multi-faceted works he has left behind.
“Alasdair was an incredible man and we hope this tribute will allow his admirers a chance to reminisce, while bringing his work to many more who have still to discover it.”
Lots of wonderful Gray of the Day readings now online for tomorrow’s #GrayDay – marking 40 years since the publication of Alasdair Gray’s ‘Lanark’. Stick your headphones on and enjoy the many readings @AGrayArchive have been posting daily in February https://t.co/3lhifZsmBg
— Glasgow Museums (@GlasgowMuseums) February 24, 2021
Gray Day will also see the launch of a new website, a podcast entitled Gray Matters and a new online film commissioned by artist Craig Mulholland.
These will accompany a series of Gray readings by friends, family and fans, including curator/ producer at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, Katie Bruce.
Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, said: “The literary and artistic prowess of Alasdair Gray has rightly made him one of Scotland’s most revered artists.
“We were delighted to host the first retrospective spanning his full career in 2014 to mark his 80th birthday.
“On the 40th anniversary of his landmark novel, Lanark, it is fitting that his home city pays tribute to his outstanding talent and Glasgow Life is pleased to be part of the celebration.”
McDonald added: “Alasdair often attributed many happy memories to his time spent at weekend art classes in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and we are very proud to have a number of his works in our Glasgow Museums’ collection.
“These include hugely popular pieces from his acclaimed 1977 City Recorder series, some of which are on display in GoMA and can be enjoyed as soon as our museums reopen. Gray Day is a wonderful way to allow Alasdair Gray’s fans to indulge their passion, while providing an opportunity for new audiences to discover his work.”
Lanark was first published in February 1981 by Canongate, the culmination of thirty years of work in which Gray faced personal and professional struggles to finish the novel.
On its publication, Lanark was critically acclaimed and heralded as a ground breaking work in Scottish literature. It prompted Anthony Burgess to call Gray “the best Scottish novelist since Walter Scott.”
The novel marked the beginning of a renaissance in Scottish fiction, from which new styles of writing developed and grew and influenced writers such as James Kelman, Liz Lochhead and Irvine Welsh.
Glasgow’s libraries were of huge importance to Gray, and a collection of his manuscripts and letters are now held in The Mitchell Library Special Collections.
It includes a handwritten version of Old Men in Love, which he sent to Glasgow’s famous poet Edwin Morgan. A note on the front of the manuscript reads: “This ain’t quite finished, bits are missing from the middle…”
Gray launched the city’s inaugural Aye Write book festival, but his love of libraries began during his childhood with visits to his local library, Riddrie.
Speaking in 2017, he said: “Glasgow Public Libraries were a greater source of learning to me than my secondary school, my local library being Riddrie, I knew best, usually visiting it twice a week, if not more.
“I was one of those studious children allowed two non-fiction library tickets. In the humour section I found the writings of Perelman and Thurber, there was also a series of one act play books. In adult non-fiction I enjoyed the autobiographies of Jocelyn Brook, essays of Chesterton and Heine’s travel writings.”
The Alasdair Gray Archive was established in March 2020 after Gray’s death in late December 2019. Visit thealasdairgrayarchive.org
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe