ALASDAIR Gray has been given a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Scottish literature.

The Glasgow writer and artist received the gong at the 2019 Literary Awards hosted by the Saltire Society at the National Museum of Scotland on Saturday evening.

It is the first year that there has been a Saltire Society Scottish Lifetime Achievement Award.

Having been born in Glasgow in 1934, Mr Gray graduated in design and mural painting from Glasgow School of Art.

His acclaimed first novel, Lanark, written over almost

30 years, has been described as “one of the landmarks of 20th-century fiction”.

Since the publication of Lanark in 1981 he has written, designed and illustrated seven novels, including Poor Things which won him a Whitbread Novel Award and Guardian Fiction Prize, several books of short stories, a collection of his stage, radio and TV plays and a book of his visual art, A Life In Pictures.

Sarah Mason, programme director for the Saltire Society, said that the influence of the 84-year-old, who was unable to attend the ceremony, runs deep within Scotland.

“Scotland’s National Book Awards 2019 have again shown the astounding literary talent of Scotland and we congratulate all our recipients and shortlistees,” said Ms Mason.

“As well as being a vital opportunity for the Saltire Society and its partners to celebrate and recognise creativity in literature and publishing, the awards raise their wider profile both nationally and internationally.

“Our special congratulations go to our inaugural Lifetime Achievement recipient, Alasdair Gray, whose influence runs deep within Scotland and much further afield. We are delighted to be able to recognise his contribution.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon congratulated all those who received awards.

She said: “Scotland’s distinguished literary culture is a notable part of our national identity and the Saltire Literary Awards do an excellent job of recognising our talented writers and authors.”