Scottish Author Peter May Wins Second French Book Award
Peter May has just won the 2010 Prix des Lecteurs at Le Havre's Les Ancres Noires book fair for his new book, The Blackhouse. This is the 2nd time in 3 years that the Scottish author has beaten international competition to a French literature award.
By: Peter May
The award was decided by juries of readers in 23 libraries in the area around Le Havre who vote on a shortlist of 21 books during the year. It was the first time in the history of the award that the winner was the unanimous choice of the voters.
The Blackhouse has also been nominated for two other writing awards in France, the winners of which will be announced in October 2010.
This is not May’s first French book award.
In 2007, at a reception in the historic Chateau Otard in Cognac, birthplace of François Premier, May was presented with the Prix Intramuros - an extraordinary prize which is decided by juries made up of inmates in French penitentiaries.
The shortlisted authors had to present themselves at various French jails for interviews with the detainees, who grilled the authors before making their final decision. May beat an all-French shortlist of authors to take the prize.
May is one of Scotland's most prolific and popular television writers, responsible for some of his homeland’s most highly-rated drama serials. However, in the new millennium, he quit the world of TV and left the UK to live in France and pursue the lifelong ambition to be a novelist.
Now in his adopted home, French readers and critics have taken the author to their hearts and rewarded him, not only with a large following of fans, but with literary prizes, too.
His series of China Thrillers already have become French best sellers in large format, paperback, and book club editions.
May’s China Thrillers and another series of books, set in France - the Enzo Files - are published in the USA, and May now spends up to 3 months every year in America on book signing tours.
His latest book, The Blackhouse, is the first of three books which will be set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It had its worldwide premier publication in French as L'Ile des Chasseurs d'Oiseaux.
May's link to the Isle of Lewis and the Gaidhealtachd is a personal one. For five years in the 1990s, May spent five months each year in the Outer Hebrides during the making of the 99 episodes of Machair. As producer and creator of the drama serial, he was in charge of a 70-strong cast and crew living and working on the island.
The landscape and the life there had a profound effect on May and have provided the inspiration for his Lewis Trilogy, and his connections were renewed when he returned to research the new books.
The Blackhouse was first published in France as L'Ile des Chasseurs d'Oiseaux and will be published in the UK and around Europe in 2011.
Cover copy from the forthcoming UK edition of the book which will be published by Quercus:
"The Blackhouse is a crime novel of rare power and vision. It is a murder mystery that explores the shadows in our souls, set in a place where the past is ever near the surface, and life blurs into myth and history."
Peter May's research video provides a haunting glimpse of the atmosphere of the Outer Hebrides.
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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. He is the recipient of two French book prizes, the latest for The Blackhouse the 1st of his new Lewis Trilogy.