‘British literati can look down at crime writing’

Scottish crime writer Peter May at his home in the Lot

Scottish crime author Peter May briefly puts his pen down to speak to The Connexion about writing inspiration, the importance of research, British literary snobbery, and life in rural Lot...

Scottish crime writer Peter May is 67 and still writing, but has only two more books to produce under his present contract. Once they are completed, he says, he will only write for pleasure.

But fans need not panic. It is unlikely he will stop writing altogether, after first putting pen to paper when he was a child and having his first novel published when he was 26.

His first job though was as a journalist, and then television writer and producer for drama series such as Squadron for the BBC and Machair, the first series in Gaelic with English subtitles, set in the Hebrides.

He then turned full time to writing books, and to the Lot in France, which he has called home since 2002.

He is now best-known for his best-selling China Thrillers series, the Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides and the France-based Enzo files.

He has won several awards including the Cezam Prix Littéraire, one of the world’s largest adjudicated readers’ awards, the Prix Polar International Cognac and the newspaper Le Télégramme’s Prix des Lecteurs.

Why did you move to France?

I have been coming here more than 40 years. I’m hopeless at foreign languages, but French was the only one I had done in school and so I had that basis.

I couldn’t imagine going to another country and starting from scratch with another language. When I first started coming here on holiday on a regular basis in my early twenties, I thought, ‘this is where I would like to live’.

It’s a different way of life, a different pace of life, particularly in rural France. Food and drink is an awful lot more civilised than it is back in the UK and so are the attitudes to it.

You only have to watch French news on television to see how different the cultural approach is to what is going on in the country.

In Britain, the news is ...

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