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Crime writer Peter May gifts £10,000 to University of the Highlands and Islands for new writers prize

By Gregor White

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Crime writer Peter May.
Crime writer Peter May.

Best-selling writer Peter May has gifted £10,000 to UHI as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations.

The money will establish a decade of student prizes for fiction writing.

The novelist and screenwriter, who was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in 2019, is a guest speaker at the university’s next leader perspectives interview online at 4pm on Wednesday.

As well as launching the Peter May Fiction Prize, he will talk about his novel Lockdown and his own personal journey from newspaper reporter to prizewinning author, and how self-belief is vital yet challenging.

The new prize, managed by the university’s development office, is open to all further and higher education students at the University of the Highlands and Islands and 2021 graduates.

Submissions are welcomed in Gaelic, Scots or English before October 15.

Mr May will pick a winner from a shortlist of five in December and that winner will receive a cash prize of £1000.

Mr May said: "One of the hardest things you will face as a writer is getting that first break.

"It doesn’t even have to be publication. It’s that confirmation of your talent which will motivate you to keep writing, and hopefully go on to ultimate success.

"I wanted to give aspiring writers among the student population of the University of the Highlands and Islands the chance of their first break, and I’m delighted that the financial rewards of my own success have given me the opportunity to do just that."

Alison Wilson, the university’s head of development, said: "We are hugely grateful to Peter.

"Gifts like these make a real difference to our students’ lives, not only providing vital financial support to allow them to continue their learning journey, but also helping them develop the confidence that comes from others recognising their potential."

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