Stephen Gray was educated at Monash and Melbourne Universities, taking a masters degree in law from the latter. In 1989 he moved to Darwin where he lectured in law at the Northern Territory University. Specialising in copyright law, he drew on his interest in issues relating to indigenous art for his second novel The Artist is a Thief (2001). Gray's first novel Lungfish was well-received, winning the Jessie Litchfield Award. Adding to this success, The Artist is a Thief won the Australian/Vogel Award. This examination of the indigenous art industry contributes a powerful story to contemporary debates on the ownership and value of Aboriginal art.