Although not a household name as an author in the UK, Scotsman May's writing is probably known to television viewers as he was the creator and scriptwriter behind several ratings-topping TV drama serials before he left television to move to France and concentrate on writing novels. His books are published in the USA and around Europe.
He is now most popular in his adopted homeland, where the French have taken the author and his books to their hearts and have already bestowed two literary prizes on him. Last summer, "The Blackhouse" won the Prix des Lecteurs at Le Havre's Ancres Noires crime-writing festival, and in 2007, May's China Thriller "Snakehead" won the Prix Intramuros - an unusual literary prize awarded by juries of prisoners in French penitentiaries. As part of the selection process for the Prix Intramuros May had to visit French jails and give talks to the inmates.
May will be back behind bars in three weeks' time, as all the authors shortlisted for the Prix Littéraire CEZAM are invited to tour and give talks to groups of readers around France. As part of his tour May will visit prisoners in two penitentiaries in the north-west of the country.
The Prix Littéraire CEZAM is decided by 350 committees comprising more than 4,800 readers across France who read the finalists' books and cast their votes using a points system. Each committee is organised by two professional librarians who gather the votes and determine the winner of both regional and national prizes.
Each of the 22 regions of France decide on the winning book in their area, and all the votes from around the country are put together to decide on the overall winner of the national Prix Littéraire CEZAM which will be announced in Strasbourg in October 2011. Last year's winner of the Prix Littéraire CEZAM was Irish author Sebastian Barry with "The Secret Scripture"
"The Blackhouse" was first published in France a little over a year ago as L'Ile des Chasseurs d'Oiseaux (The Island of the Bird Hunters). The story is set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, where May spent 5 years in the 90s making the ground-breaking Scottish Television drama "Machair".
"A beautifully written, haunting and powerful examination of the darkness of men's souls and how hard it can be to bury the past, The Blackhouse is also an outstanding page-turning murder mystery" according to the Irish Independent. The novel follows a police officer from Edinburgh on a trip back to his native Isle of Lewis where the investigation of a case unlocks a door to long-buried memories and terrible secrets.
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Peter May is the author of several standalone novels and two series: the award-winning China Thrillers,and the critically-acclaimed Enzo Files. "The Blackhouse" is the the first novel in his Lewis Trilogy set in the outer Hebrides of Scotland and is published by Quercus books, the fastest growing publisher in the UK.