Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer Peter May was born 20 December 1951 in Glasgow. From an early age he was intent on becoming a novelist, but took up a career as a journalist as a way to start earning a living by writing. He made his first serious attempt at writing a novel at the age of 19, which he sent to Collins where it was read by Philip Ziegler, who wrote him a very encouraging rejection letter. In 1972 he won the Fraser Award and was named Scotland’s Young Journalist of the Year. He went on to write for The Scotsman and the Glasgow Evening Times. At the age of 26, May’s first novel, The Reporter, was published. May was asked to adapt the book as a television series for the British television network the BBC, and left journalism in 1978 to begin to write full-time for television.
May’s novel The Reporter became the prime-time 13-part television series entitled The Standard in 1978. May went on to create other major TV series Including, Squadron and, Machair. May alsowrote the novels Hidden Faces (1981) and The Noble Path (1992), and in 1996 May quit television to write novels. May’s “China Thrillers”, appeared between 1999 and 2004, To research the series, May made annual trips to China building up contacts including forensic pathologists and homicide detectives. He gained access to the homicide and forensic science sections of Beijing and Shanghai police forces and has made a study of the methodology of Chinese police and forensic pathology systems. 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 this honour. He also contributed a monthly column to the Chinese Police Magazine Contemporary World Police.
Peter May lives in France and his China Thrillers have received several nominations for awards in that country. In 2007 he won the Prix Intramuros. This prize is awarded by juries of readers made up of prisoners in French penitentiaries. In 2007, May was the only non-French author in the shortlist. He received the prize at the annual Polar&Co literary festival in Cognac.
“The Enzo Files”, is set in France and is centred on the work of half-Italian, half-Scottish Enzo Macleod. A former forensic scientist, now working as a biology professor at a French university who applies the latest scientific methods to solve cold cases. May continues to ensure authenticity in the details of his books by researching in France just as he did in China. His novel “The Critic” involves the wine industry and is set in Gaillac, France – May was also inducted as a Chevalier de la Dive Bouteille de Gaillac in December 2007. In 2016, after 15 years of living full-time in France May was welcomed as a French citizen at a ceremony of naturalization by Catherine Ferrier, the Préfète of the Lot. For his standalone thriller ‘Virtually Dead’, May researched the book by creating an avatar in the online world of Second Life and opening the Flick Faulds private detective agency. The Blackhouse, the first book in ‘The Lewis Trilogy’ set in the Outer Hebrides’ was published in 2009 And Was hailed as “a masterpiece” by the French daily newspaper L’Humanité and was also nominated for several literary awards in France. It won the Prix des Lecteurs at Le Havre’s Ancres Noires Festival and the French national literature award, the Cezam Prix Littéraire Inter CE in 2011.
The second book in the trilogy, ‘The Lewis Man’ was published in 2012. It won two French literature awards, the Prix des Lecteurs at Le Havre’s Ancres Noires Festival, 2012, the Prix des Lecteurs du Télégramme, readers prize of France’s Le Télégramme newspaper and the 2012 Prix International at the Cognac Festival. The third book, ‘The Chessmen’ was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Book of the Year 2014. Entry Island, Peter May’s first book after the Lewis Trilogy was Entry Island this is partly set on a remote island in Canada. This won the Deanstons Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2014, the UK national prize, the Specsavers ITV Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year 2014 and the French Trophée 813 for the Best Foreign Crime Novel of the year 2015. Peter May’s next crime novel Runaway is based on real experiences of running away from home in Glasgow seeking fame and fortune in London with members of a musical group that he was part of in the 1960s. May’s next thriller Coffin Road is set on the Isle of Harris and has an ecological theme involving links between big pharmaceutical companies and colony collapse disorder in bees.
May’s novels include:
The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man, The Chessmen, The Enzo Files, Extraordinary People, The Critic, Blacklight Blue, Freeze Frame, Blowback, Cast Iron, The China Thrillers: The Firemaker, The Fourth Sacrifice The Killing Room, Snakehead, The Runner, Chinese Whispers, The Reporter, Fallen Hero, Hidden Faces, The Man With No Face, The Noble Path, Virtually Dead, Entry Island, Runaway, Coffin Road, Hebrides,
Television: The Standard, Squadron, Take The High Road, The Ardlamont Mystery, Machair, The Killing Room (Les Disparues)