Guest of Honour
MURIEL GRAY was born in East Kilbride, Scotland. After graduating from the Glasgow School of Art, she worked as an illustrator and then assistant head of design at the National Museum of antiquities in Edinburgh. Playing in the punk band The Family Von Trapp led her to present Channel 4’s seminal early 1980s music programme The Tube with Jools Holland and Paula Yates.
A successful presenting career in television and radio followed, and Muriel hosted such TV shows as The Media Show, The Munro Show (for which she wrote the tie-in book), Ride On, The Design Awards, The Booker Prize Awards, Art is Dead – Long Live TV, The Glasgow Boys and BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week. Between 1983 and 1984 she was a DJ for Edinburgh’s Radio Forth, and during the 1980s she was a regular stand-in presenter on BBC Radio 1, most notably as a replacement for John Peel. In 1996 she appeared as a Scottish activist on the BBC comedy show French and Saunders, and she is a regular on BBC2’s Grumpy Old Women. Muriel also founded a television production company in 1989 that grew into one of the leading UK independents.
She is a former Rector of the University of Edinburgh, the only woman to have ever held this post, and in 2006 Muriel received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Abertay Dundee. In 2007 she was the chair of the judges for the Orange Prize for Fiction.
Her writing career began in 1995 with the best-selling horror novel The Trickster (shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award), and it was followed by two more, Furnace (1996) and The Ancient (2000), which Stephen King described as “scary and unputdownable”. She has also contributed many short stories to anthologies and magazines (including The Third Alternative, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #13 and the forthcoming Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women and A Carnivàle of Horror: Dark Tales from the Fairground), written for comics, and produced columns for Time Out, the Sunday Correspondent, the Sunday Mirror, Bliss magazine and the Sunday Herald. In 2001 she won Columnist of the Year in the Scottish Press Awards.
A horror and fantasy fan from childhood, Muriel was always a secret but obsessional geek, who hid The Pan Book of Horror Stories under her bed covers and read it with a torch.
One of her greatest disappointments is that she has not yet been abducted by aliens.