"The Blackhouse" Author Brings his Book Home to Scotland - Finally!
An award-winning book set in Scotland which is a hit all over Europe finally reaches the British bookshops this week and its Scottish author Peter May is coming home to celebrate at launch parties in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
By: Peter May
May lives in France where his books have won two literary prizes and been nominated for several more. He is in demand year-round at French book festivals to give talks and do signings, regularly giving radio interviews and making appearances on French TV. He also spends two months each year in the USA where fans turn out from coast to coast for his book signing tours and talks.
When May wrote a book set on the Isle of Lewis, he felt sure that it would finally make a breakthrough for him in the UK. His agent in London agreed and was certain that the haunting, psychological thriller was the best book May had ever written.
The biggest British publishers read it and offered such praise as...
"an outstanding thriller"
"a darkly atmospheric read"
And then they rejected the book for reasons such as...
"won't reach a wide enough audience" or
"we already have a Scottish series"
May was devastated and consigned the book to a drawer for 5 years while he forced himself to concentrate on other work for his American and French publishers.
Then in a conversation with his French editor, he mentioned "The Blackhouse" - the book set in his homeland that UK publishers didn't want. His French editor asked to see it, read it immediately, and fell in love with it. She made him an offer for world rights, and in an unprecedented move, this English language book was first published in a French translation.
It was immediately shortlisted for several French awards. It won the Prix des Lecteurs at Le Havre's Les Ancres Noires Festival, and is in the final of the CEZAM French National Literature Prize - the winner of which will be announced this summer. The French reviews have been the best of May's career.
The French daily newspaper, L'Humanité, declared it "a masterpiece"
May's French publishers, Actes Sud, took the book to the Frankfurt book fair and in a week that involved pre-emptive bids by the top Italian publishing house, and bidding wars between German publishers, deals were signed with publishers all over Europe.
English language rights were snapped up too, by relatively new kids on the British publishing block - who had barely been in existence when the book first made the rounds - Quercus, the fastest growing trade publisher in the UK last year: winners of several literary prizes, they also discovered Stieg Larsson's phenomenally successful millennium trilogy.
"The Blackhouse" is published this month in the UK and is Waterstones' Book of the Month in Scotland. Asda and Sainsburys have special promotions of it.
May will be in Blackwells, South Bridge, Edinburgh on Tuesday 8th February; and in Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow on Wednesday 9th February, both at 6.30pm.
May arrives in Scotland fresh from success at Barcelona's crime writing festival where "The Blackhouse" won universal praise and May spent two days doing 20 interviews with press, radio and TV journalists.
What is "The Blackhouse" about? On one level the book is a murder investigation, but reviewers describe getting caught up not only with the mystery but with the atmosphere of the Isle of Lewis and the Outer Hebrides, and speak about the empathy they feel with detective Fin MacLeod as he struggles with his memories and his conscience, and confronts events from his past that he had long kept buried.
"A thriller with an intensity that never slackens, chilling and igneous at the same time, like the great country that serves as its setting. A masterpiece indeed."
The French daily newspaper, L'Humanité
"This is a novel of subtlety and horror. Award-winning author Peter May has
deftly constructed a story that gets into the heart of human darkness while
presenting an intriguing thriller you won't be able to put down."
"(the hero’s) gradual enlightenment is conveyed with subtle, tragic conviction …. melancholy … brilliant"
The Literary Review
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
http://www.petermay.co.uk (general website)
http://www.petermay.info (media site)
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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.
Page Updated Last on: Feb 08, 2011