Canongate has acquired world rights to two novellas by Alasdair Gray, ahead of an event celebrating his life and work to be held in February next year.
Gray Day 2021 will mark the 40-year anniversary of the publication of Lanark, Gray's surreal dystopian novel, which is set in Glasgow, and will be held on 25th February. Described as a "cultural trailblazer", the author died last year.
Organised in collaboration with The Alasdair Gray Archive, the Gray Day programme features events and the publication of a new collector’s hardback edition of Lanark, in addition to new paperback classic editions of other Gray fiction previously out of print.
Publishing director Francis Bickmore secured the rights to novellas The Fall of Kelvin Walker and McGrotty and Ludmilla from Zoë Waldie at RCW, which will be published in Canongate’s Canons classics series on Gray Day 2021, alongside a new edition of Unlikely Stories, Mostly, Gray’s first collection. Both out-of-print novellas were originally released by the publisher, in 1985 and 1990 respectively.
Bloomsbury will also be collaborating with Canongate on Gray Day; it publishes a number of his books, including The Book of Prefaces and Poor Things.
Gray’s last written work was the final part of his interpretation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Paradise, which Canongate publishes in hardback in November 2020.
Bickmore said: "There has been no bigger or more important spark for the Scottish imagination in the last hundred years than Alasdair Gray. Through his books, art, murals, plays and the generosity of his personality, he elevated the local, advocated a public-spirited sense of community, and fixed Glasgow as the centre of the known universe.
"His confidence and ambition made all kinds of creative endeavours possible, and it is no overstatement to say that he and Lanark were at the heart of a Scottish renaissance in the second half of the 20th century. We miss him sorely. We should be celebrating his work and ideas for many centuries, and Gray Day and the republication of some of his key works is one step along the way to doing so.”