Loving Alasdair – the memoir of 39 years friendship with Alasdair Gray – the second title under our new imprint, VOICES – publication autumn 2024

Alasdair Gray Book Cover

 

Loving Alasdair: the 39 years of my life with Alasdair Gray

  • 256 pages
  • paperback
  • 198 x 130
  • £12.99
  • ISBN 9781904737667

May Hooper’s fascinating memoir about her long and close association with Glasgow writer and artist, Alasdair Gray – wacky, romantic, unrequited, boozy, open, compassionate, loving, a different kind of love story

The Author is a trained nurse and her medical knowledge and caring disposition helped form the bedrock of the relationship. It was a relationship that began in the early 1980s when May Hooper and Alasdair Gray met at a party in the West End of Glasgow and when Alasdair Gray, clearly attracted by May Hooper’s striking good looks, asked if he could draw or paint her. At a following portrait session the two realised that they enjoyed each other’s company, that this was more than just an artist/model relationship and the friendship took off and was to last for 39 years until Alasdair Gray’s death in 2019.

The book tells stories of long walks together, of a visit to the Edinburgh Book Festival, of trips to the cinema, of outings to the Scottish countryside, of Alasdair Gray’s work on murals in Glasgow and in Dunfermline (when he was working with May Hooper’s partner, Robert, as his assistant). Conversations and events taking place in the course of their times together are described, sometimes showing connections with books to be written by Alasdair Gray. What is described is sometimes in the general nature of personal friendships, sometimes out of the ordinary, sometimes bizarre and eccentric, always entertaining and always throwing light on the character of this Scottish artist.

Although when they first met they each lived in different parts of the city of Glasgow, quite distant from each other, they were later to become near-neighbours in the West End of the city. The memoir describes the events which led to Alasdair Gray’s hospitalisation and how May Hooper, of her own volition and acting out of deep-seated love and admiration, became the person who organised his home care when he was confined to a wheelchair. The memoir alludes to Alasdair Gray’s relationships with his own next-of-kin and describes how May Hooper was to take on what was in effect an unofficial power of attorney to ensure that his final years were spent in the way that he himself wanted.

The first memoir in the VOICES imprint is To This Northern Shore.

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