Born in Ayrshire and brought up in Midlothian, Yvonne Gray studied English Language and Literature at the University of Edinburgh. She has lived in Orkney since 1990 and graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands with an MLitt (Distinction) in Literature, with her thesis being a study of three contemporary Orkney poets.
Gray has received writers’ bursaries from Hi-Arts and the former Scottish Arts Council, and has been a director of the George Mackay Brown Fellowship since 2008. She has taught English and, as a keen musician, Oboe.
After publishing various pamphlets and artists books, her first full collection, In the Hanging Valley, was published by Two Ravens Press in 2008. She has collaborated with other writers, artists and musicians, and her work has been set to music by several composers. Reflections: Poems and Drawings, a collaboration with artist John Cumming, was shortlisted for the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award in 2013 and in a trans-Atlantic collaboration during the pandemic, she co-wrote the libretto for We Wear the Sea Like a Coat, an opera by Sally Lamb McCune, premiered by Opera Ithaca in 2022.
Her poems have been published in journals including Northwords, Transnational Literature, The Cafe Review and The Dark Horse, and in anthologies including New Writing Scotland (ASLS), Cleave and Riptide (both Two Ravens Press), Ars Poetica (Bratislava, 2008), These Islands We Sing (Polygon, 2011), Archipelagos (University of Edinburgh, 2014), Beyond the Swelkie (Tippermuir, 2021), and Other Worlds (Polygon, 2022)
Her writing is often concerned with changing environments, and with themes of continuity, connection and dislocation.