Peter May biography

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Peter May
Photo: Domi Photographe

Peter May

Peter May Biography

Peter May won the Scottish Young Journalist of the Year Award at the age of 21, and had his first novel published at 26. He then left journalism and became one of Scotland's most successful and prolific television dramatists. By the age of 30 he had created two major TV series, The Standard and Squadron, for the British television network, the BBC. He went on to gather more than 1000 TV credits in fifteen years, creating and writing major drama serials for both BBC and ITV in the UK: including the ground-breaking Gaelic serial Machair, which he also produced.

Returning now to novels, the six novels in his outstanding China Thrillers series have won critical acclaim. To research the series, Peter May makes annual trips to China. With an extraordinary network of contacts, he has gained unprecedented access to the homicide and forensic science sections of Beijing and Shanghai police forces and has made a painstaking study of the methodology of Chinese detectives and pathologists.

As a mark of their respect for his work, The Chinese Crime Writers' Association made him an honorary member of their Beijing Chapter. He is the only Westerner to receive such an honor.

He won the French Literary Award, the Priz Intramuros for the French edition of his China Thriller Snakehead, at the 2007 Cognac Literary Festival.

His next series of books, The Enzo Files, is set in France. He started a new series in 2011 set on the Scottish Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, forty miles from the Scottish mainland.

He was inducted as a Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Dive Bouteille de Gaillac in December 2007 in recognition of his knowledge and support of the wines of Gaillac.

He is married to writer Janice Hally and lives in France.

The Lewis Series to Date
The Blackhouse (2011 in UK, 2012 in USA)
The Lewis Man (2012 in UK)
The Chessmen (2013 in UK)

The Enzo Series (to date)
Dry Bones (originally titled Extraordinary People, 2006)
A Vintage Corpse (originally titled The Critic, 2007)
Blacklight Blue (2008)
Freeze Frame (2010).
Blow Back (2011)

The title changes for the first two books were explained to BookBrowse by Barbara Peters, Peter May's editor, as follows: "In line with the forensics in the seven-book Enzo series based on a wager that the Scottish scientist can solve seven cold cases presented in a book by Parisian journalist Roger Raffin -- perhaps a ruffian himself -- we have retitled the first two books to fit the concept better. Thus 2006's Extraordinary People is now available in trade paperback as Dry Bones. The Critic is now A Vintage Corpse. Both are available under these titles while the older titles no longer are."

Peter May's website

This bio was last updated on 05/29/2017. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Interview

Peter May discusses his Scottish heritage; what led him to his love of books - and becoming a writer; and why he writes 3000 words a day, never more nor less, even if that means he stops for the day in the middle of a sentence!

As a native Scot, it's natural you've managed to create such a strong sense of place any reader can identify with. What is it about Scotland and the Scots culture you feel evokes such a visceral reaction in your readers? What makes Scotland so fascinating?
Scotland and the Scots are shaped by a hard climate and a hard religion, set against a backdrop of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was that hard religion that introduced universal education, bucking against years of Catholic dominance when the Church liked to keep people in compliant ignorance. The new Protestantism wanted people to read the bible, and so taught them to read and write. As a result, Scotland was in the vanguard of the new enlightenment, its education system turning out scholars and engineers, doctors and inventors, economists and philosophers. Scotland was transformed from a medieval backwater into one of the most forward thinking countries in the world, and the Scots took their ideas and their work ethic with them during the great migrations of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although Scotland has a population of only 5 million, the diaspora is around 22 million, and people everywhere can, I think, identify ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Peter May at BookBrowse
Cast Iron jacket Coffin Road jacket The Lewis Man jacket The Blackhouse jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Peter May but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Kate Atkinson

    Kate Atkinson

    Kate Atkinson was born in York, England in 1951 and studied English Literature at Dundee University in Scotland. After graduating in 1974, she researched a postgraduate doctorate on American Literature. She later taught at ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Blackhouse

    Try:
    Started Early, Took My Dog
    by Kate Atkinson

  • Lyndsay Faye

    Lyndsay Faye

    Lyndsay Faye moved to Manhattan in 2005 to audition as a professional actress; her schedule opened up when her day-job restaurant was knocked down with bulldozers. Her first novel Dust and Shadow: an Account of the Ripper ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Blackhouse

    Try:
    The Gods of Gotham
    by Lyndsay Faye

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