Author details

Shalla Gray


I was born in Dingwall, but have ended up in Dumfries & Galloway, via Dundee, Newport-on-Tay, Crail and Edinburgh. I was inspired by my father, Alan Grant, who wrote me bedtime stories when I was little, and who has subsequently become a legend in the comics world as a writer.  I always wanted to create children’s books, and wrote my first story – Charlotte’s Woolly Yarn – on a camping holiday to Loch Rannoch when I was 12.  It took 25 years for the story to be published, in which time I attained an Honours degree in Ecology, a Masters degree in Water Resources, had four children and acquired a Post Office & Shop in rural Galloway.  With my friend Jayne Baldwin, I have set up  a small publishing company – Curly Tale Books – which is now in its third year of trading.  My dream is to give up the day job and become a full-time writer/illustrator/publisher – a challenge that I am relishing!

About writer's work

My work so far has been very much children-oriented. I have written and illustrated Charlotte’s Woolly Yarn, Big Bill the Beltie Bull and The Galloway Chilli, each of which features and showcases the landscapes and landmarks of Dumfries and Galloway. They are rhyming stories for 0-8 year-olds. I have also illustrated Big Bill’s Beltie Bairns – by Jayne Baldwin, and The Quite Big Rock – by Alan Grant – one of the bedtime stories he wrote for me when I was a baby. The countryside and animals of rural Scotland always feature in my illustrations, including of course the iconic Belted Galloway cow.

I was short-listed for Curly Tale Books in the most Promising Developing Business Category in the DGLife awards 2014, and have several projects in the pipeline. I am currently illustrating Maxwell’s Mega Mission for Jayne Baldwin and a revised and extended version of Charlotte’s Woolly Yarn is at the printers right now, for release in Spring 2015. I don’t like to be idle, so I am also illustrating another book that I have written, (working title) Clyde the Clydesdale, another written by Jayne (Seaside Susie and the Silly Seagulls) and another by Alan Grant (Sammy the Rainbow Snail).

Websites featuring the author

Curly Tale Books

Current events and projects

I tend to concentrate on one of my books per workshop. I have craft activities, songs and puzzles which together with reading the story itself make an event lasting about an hour for each book. This is especially suitable for children in the under 8 age group. For older children I can adapt to create a workshop to develop the children’s drawing skills or story-writing skills. I hope this yearto work with a group of P7s at my local primary school in a ‘Masterclass’ - a block of 6 weekly classes at the end of which they will have created their own book to be left behind at the school when they move on to Secondary. This will involve all aspects of book production, from illustrating and writing the story, to computer skills and basic publishing.

For adult audiences I can either talk about the writing, illustrating, publishing process, or concentrate on any one of these. I recently gave a talk which lasted about 1 and a half hours to a WRI Group about these subjects, and have booked several more events with other groups through word of mouth due to the attendees enjoying it so much!


Local authority where they are based

Dumfries and Galloway

Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Other1, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, Other

Age groups

0-4, 5-8, 9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type

Illustrator, Writer



Books written

The Galloway Chilli

Author(s): Shalla Gray
Meet the Galloway Chilli!

Big Bill the Beltie Bull

Author(s): Shalla Gray
Poor big Bill! All he wants to do is sleep in the sun and eat yummy grass, but the farmer has other ideas… Published by Curly Tale Books.

Charlotte's Woolly Yarn

Author(s): Shalla Gray
Charlotte the lamb goes in search of her woolly fleece – taking in landmarks of South-west Scotland on the way. Published by GC Books.