> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 15 January 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099485162
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $32.99

Grayson Perry

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Girl


Formats & editions


Intimate, funny, unsettling autobiography by one of Britain's most talented and provocative artists, written in his own voice by a close friend.

'I was a child who was a cuckoo in the nest', Grayson says. In his bedroom not a scrap of wallpaper showed: every inch was covered with pictures of aeroplanes, and every surface with models. Fantasy took over his life, in a world of battles ruled by his teddy bear, Alan Measles. He grew up. And in 2003, an acclaimed ceramic artist, he accepted the Turner Prize as his alter-ego Clare, wearing his best dress, with a bow in his hair: another dream made real.
Now he tells his own story, his voice beautifully caught by his friend, the writer Wendy Jones. Early childhood in Chelmsford, Essex is a rural Eden that ends abruptly with the arrival of the violent milkman who becomes his stepfather, leading to constant swerving between his parents' houses, and between boys' clothes and women's clothes. But as Grayson enters art college and tries awkwardly to fit in - 'I used to go to the Taboo nightclub in a black suit with skin-tight Lycra trousers and a jacket two sizes too small' - he starts to find himself and at last, in his early twenties, he steps out as a potter and transvestite.
Direct and down to earth, stuffed with insights, imagination and wit, and with illustrations of Grayson's own work, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl is both a mesmerising read and a lifeline for all young boys who hug their dreams to themselves.

  • Pub date: 15 January 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099485162
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Authors

Perry Grayson

Grayson Perry is one of the most popular artists in Britain today. His first art prize was a large papier-mâché head he awarded to himself as part of a performance art project at college. Since then he has won many other awards, including the Turner Prize in 2003, and has had major solo exhibitions all over the world. His book Playing to the Gallery is based on his acclaimed BBC Reith Lectures.

Wendy Jones

Wendy Jones is a writer, a special needs teacher and founder of the underground literary club 'Peach' and the author, with the artist, of Grayson Perry's biography.


Praise for Grayson Perry

“The most remarkable aspect of Grayson Perry's biography is the resilience of the human spirit to which it testifies... There are lovely moments in this book and what really comes across is what a lovely man Grayson Perry is”

Literary Review

“Gripping and splinter-sharp account of the Turner prize-winning potter's early life and artistic growth”

Sunday Times

“[A] delightful autobiography... this short charming book ought to be required reading for anyone with artistic ambitions. For everyone else, it can be enjoyed simply as one of those heartwarming tales of happiness and success wrested from the jaws of potential disaster”

Mail on Sunday

“Charming... oddly reminiscent of Nigel Slater's recent book, Toast”

Saturday Herald

“it is in its own right one of the most gripping and intelligent accounts of an artist's growth I have ever read.”

John Carey


Related titles