Yesterday I learned that Stephen Gray had passed away. I am sad to learn that. He was not a friend but we became acquaintances when we bumped into one another at book events and sales. We would exchange a greeting and a cheerful comment about books, making welcome recommendations to one another. I knew he was a well-known literary figure but he was a friendly person and we shared a passion for books. Sometimes we would encounter one another at the Tyrone Avenue shops in Parkview.
Tyrone Avenue (The Heritage Portal)
I admired Stephens biography of Herman Charles Bosman Life Sentence: A Biography of Herman Charles Bosman. Human & Rousseau, 2005. It was well written, empathetic, probing and offered another perspective on the life of Bosman. He edited a volume, Bosman’s Johannesburg finding the best of Bosman’s writing about Johannesburg. It is a slender volume that fits into the collectable Johannesburg books.
Stephen was a professor of English at the University of Johannesburg but retired in the 1990s to concentrate on his writing. He was prolific in his writing and was a novelist, biographer, poet and editor of substance. His writing gave us pleasure. He will be missed and fondly remembered. His writing legacy is impressive.
Kathy Munro is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand and chair of the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation.