Meet Ayana Gray: The Author Behind Best-Selling Fantasy Novel Beasts of Prey

Second Life Podcast: Ayana Gray


Courtesy of Ayana Gray

Welcome to Second Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode gives you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts to stay tuned.

Ayana Gray is a lover of storytelling. As a New York Times best-selling author, Gray has fostered a fan base that shares her passion for fantasy, including monsters, mythos, magic, and everything in between. Her debut novel, Beasts of Prey, stunned readers worldwide with its powerful perspective on magic and African mythology. It is Gray’s thoughtful approach to character building and detail in her dream of mythical worlds that has quickly enticed readers. 

Since its launch, the novel has been translated into 10 different languages across five continents and is impressively being adapted into a Netflix feature film. Beasts of Prey marks the first in a highly anticipated trilogy, and her second book, Beasts of Ruin, will be released on July 26.

Yet before Gray became a noteworthy writer, she had quite a different career path. She worked in higher education, fundraising for the University of Florida and the University of Arkansas and doing prospect research that allowed both schools to raise meaningful money for scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, and more. In fact, she supported the University of Florida’s most extensive capital campaign, Go Greater, which exceeded its $3 billion goal. Listen to the latest episode of Second Life to hear how Gray’s past life in fundraising actually became an integral tool in storytelling and how she found support in pivoting that skill toward her ultimate dream of becoming an author.

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