Scottish novelist, playwright, and painter, born in Glasgow, and educated at Glasgow School of Art. For several years he worked as an art teacher and then as a theatrical scene‐painter.
His first novel, Lanark: A Life in Four Books (1981), a vast picaresque fable in which Glasgow is reinvented as the apocalyptic Unthank, immediately established him as a leading though unconventional figure in contemporary Scottish writing. Gray's fiction, in which fantasy is given a firmly realistic underpinning, is inventively unconventional both in style and structure and eclectic in its references. Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1983) was followed by 1982, Janine (1984) and The Rise of Kelvin Walker (1985). In Something Leather (1990) Received Pronunciation is explicated as if it were a regional accent. McGrotty and Ludmilla (1990), is a political satire set in Whitehall; Poor Things (1992), a pastiche of the Victorian mystery novel, returns to the fantastic neo‐Gothic mode of Lanark. A History Maker (1994) is a futuristic tale set in the border region of Scotland during the 23rd cent. Gray has also edited The Book of Prefaces (2000) and published volumes of poems and stories.