ALASDAIR GRAY is Scotland's best known polymath. Born in 1934 in Glasgow, he graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1957 then lived by part-time teaching, painting and writing plays for TV and radio until 1981. His first novel, the loosely autobiographical, blackly fantastic LANARK, opened new imaginative territory for such varied writers as Jonathan Coe, A.L. Kennedy, Janice Galloway and Irvine Welsh. It led Anthony Burgess to call him "the most important Scottish writer since Sir Walter Scott". His other published books include 1982 JANINE, POOR THINGS (winner of the Whitbread Award), THE BOOK OF PREFACES, THE ENDS OF OUR TETHERS and OLD MEN IN LOVE. In this book, with reproductions of his murals, portraits, landscapes and illustrations, Gray tells of the failures and successes which have led to his pictures being accepted by a new generation of visual artists.

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