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Author - Peter May
Peter May, author of the Lewis Trilogy - click here for a short biography
Peter May

Major French Literary Award for Author Peter May

British author and French resident Peter May has won France's biggest readers' prize - the 2011 CEZAM Prix Litteraire Inter-CE - for his book, "The Blackhouse"... a book that nearly never was...


Finally it drops onto the doormat one morning, the familiar publishers logo loud on the dun coloured envelope.

With a rush of adrenalin, you grab it, take it to the kitchen table and… just stare at it for a beat. With rising anticipation you tear the envelope open and then… even as you unfold the letter, you realise with a plunging, heart sinking sensation, that there aren't enough words to spell success. You've failed and the scant two lines are stark proof that, again, you are being thanked for submitting your cherished manuscript, but, "on this occasion" an option would not be taken to publish.

Dreams of fame and fortune dashed.

It takes weeks to get over the feeling of failure and you cannot bear to even touch the, now despised, manuscript to try to figure out why your much crafted, much slaved over, much loved story would not, after all stare down at the smug you, from the Best Seller shelves of WH Smith.

Everyone (except perhaps Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling), who has ever believed that old maxim that "everyone has at least one book in them" and has acted upon it, probably knows that feeling of rejection. It is part of the rights of passage of becoming a published writer. At least, that is what established writers always say.

Except, perhaps, Peter May.

"It Was the Best Book I'd Ever Written"
An established writer of no small fame, (The China Thrillers, The Enzo Series), the last thing he expected when submitting his latest manuscript, was for it to be rejected.

May was devastated and dumped his seemingly despised never to be published book in a drawer, where it languished (not forgotten - oh no) for five long years, whilst he forced himself to concentrate on other work for his American and French publishers.

"I knew, deep down inside, that it was the best book I had ever written… I was devestated"

It was only because of a throwaway remark to his French publisher, about how "the best book I had ever written" had been rejected by UK publishers and his US agent, that led to him dusting off his manuscript for her to read.

His astute French publishers snapped up the world rights to the "The Blackhouse" … a highly unusual scenario, of a book written in English, being first published in French!

The rest, as they say, is history, with the 'British Publisher of the Year', Quercus (The Millenium Trilogy, Stigg Larsson), encouraging May to take the theme and run with it, turning it too, into a trilogy.

So next time you try and fail to get your book published, don't stop trying.

After all, rejection can and does happen to the best as well.

Blackhouse- the first in the Lewis Trilogy, author - Peter May
The Blackhouse, Peter May
- 1st Book in the Lewis Trilogy -
click the image to view a synopsis

"The Blackhouse" entered the UK hardback top twenty at the beginning of 2011 and on publication as a paperback in September, it immediately entered the UK paperback charts, where it remains as we go to press. The second in the trilogy, "The Lewis Man" is now published in hardback: The Lewis Man (Part 2 of the Lewis Trilogy)

Glittering Prizes
Peter May has won France's biggest readers' prize for his book, "The Blackhouse" (published as: L'Ile des Chasseurs d'Oiseaux, in France)

In a decision taken by 3551 jurors from all walks of life all over France, the Scotsman beat off competition from a shortlist of ten European authors to lift the French national book award, the 2011 CEZAM Prix Litteraire Inter-CE

1st in Trilogy
2nd in Trilogy
Order your copy - click the image above
Order your copy - click the image above

"400 pages of pitch-perfect dialogue and creepy, spine-tingling storytelling"
The Scotsman

Peter May, the author
Synopsis, The Blackhouse
Rejection, video
Isle of Lewis, Video
The Enzo Series, Peter May
The China Thrillers, Peter May
Quercus, Publishers of The Lewis Trilogy
Cezam Prix Litteraire Inter-CE: further information
Peter May ; his official website

Story: Chris McCready


Peter May - Bio
click here to pop-up a short biography of Peter May
To pop-up a short biography of author, Peter May, please click the image above.
Related Stories


The Blackhouse - Peter May describes how his best seller was nearly never published. Click here to pop-up the video.

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- to view the video -

Peter May explains how "The Blackhouse" might be languishing in a drawer still, had it not been for an editor who believed in him, a publishing house that broke all the rules to support him, and a French public who have adopted this Scotsman and rewarded him with praise and literary prizes...

Stung and depressed after his novel's rejection, only to be elated by its subsequent success, Peter May shares his thoughts with us via this video

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Isle of Lewis - setting for The Blackhouse - click to pop-up the video
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