Bestselling crime writer Peter May says his readers have fallen in love with the Outer Hebrides and endlessly request for him to return to the archipelago – with many taking the trip themselves.
His latest novel, I’ll Keep You Safe, sees the author back on the Isle of Lewis and weaving one of the island’s most famous exports, Harris Tweed, into a story of infidelity, murder and fashion.
VisitScotland hopes the setting of the book will boost literary tourism in the area, following on from the popularity of May’s Lewis Trilogy and Coffin Road, set on Harris, with visitors.
As an extra incentive, the national tourism organisation has teamed up with publishers Quercus to undertake joint promotional activity. This includes partnering with Natural Retreats Lews Castle, Harris Tweed Hebrides and Caledonian MacBrayne to give one lucky reader a chance to win a trip to the Outer Hebrides.
The competition can be found on the VisitScotland website and has already received more than 3,000 page views. The competition also features in stickered promotion on 5,000 copies of I’ll Keep You Safe in Tesco stores across the UK and on outdoor advertising.
The Outer Hebrides has provided a bountiful supply of creativity for Peter May. His Lewis Trilogy proved so popular with visitors that Outer Hebrides Tourism created a literary map and trail to the places featured in the books, The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man and The Chessmen.
The literary trail can be downloaded from the Outer Hebrides Tourism website, where it has had 30,000 page views.
A companion photobook, Peter May Hebrides, also includes such highlights as the beehive dwellings at Morsgail, the Bridge to Nowhere and the Iolaire Memorial.
Peter May, author of I’ll Keep You Safe, said: “The Outer Hebrides provide a unique setting for my crime novels, which help them stand out against the competition. The islands have struck a chord with readers around the world, and I am in receipt of daily contact from readers – many of whom have been moved to visit them for themselves – imploring me always to return to the Hebrides for my next book.”
Mr May added: “I always try to find a story element which is unique to the location that I am using, so that it would be impossible to set that tale elsewhere. The Outer Hebrides have provided me with several uniquely island elements for my stories – the guga hunt on the Isle of Lewis; the ‘homers’ (orphan children from mainland Scotland) sent to live with island families; the sinking of the Iolaire bringing islanders home at the end of the First World War; The Highland Clearances; and, of course, Harris Tweed for I’ll Keep You Safe.”
Alan MacKenzie, Island Manager at VisitScotland, said: “The landscape, history and people of the Outer Hebrides have been an inspiring mix for Peter May and in turn his stories have helped draw visitors from across the world to this wonderful part of Scotland.
“From the works of Sir Walter Scott, to Harry Potter and Outlander, Scotland’s stories continue to entrance our visitors. We’re delighted that Peter has once again returned to the islands in his latest work and hope more readers will be inspired to explore this novel destination.”
Ian Fordham, Chairman of Outer Hebrides Tourism which promotes the Peter May literary trail, said: “The trail helps readers experience many corners of the stunning landscapes on offer across these islands, taking in the geology, heritage and scenery of the Outer Hebrides. By following the literary trail, visitors can understand how inspirational these islands can be.”
Laura McKerrell at Quercus Books said: “We are delighted to be working with VisitScotland once again around the publication of Peter May’s latest crime novel. We know that an enormous appeal of the books for Peter’s fans is the setting in the Outer Hebrides, and working with VisitScotland means that we can bring that setting to life for the readers above and beyond the books, as well as hopefully further introduce Peter’s writing to an audience who have established interest in this beautiful part of the world.”
I’ll Keep You Safe is out now and follows the story of Niamh Macfarlane, co-owner of Ranish Tweed: a Hebridean company that weaves its own special variety of Harris cloth, which has become a sought-after brand in the world of high fashion. When Niamh learns of her husband’s affair with a Russian designer and then witnesses the pair killed by a car bomb in Paris, her life is left in ruins and she returns to the Isle of Lewis.
The Peter May literary trail can be downloaded here: https://www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk/see-and-do/culture-and-heritage/peter-may-lewis-trilogy
The VisitScotland competition can be found here: https://www.visitscotland.com/win/petermay/
Notes to Editors
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2018 Year of Young People
- The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
- The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
- Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
- Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
- The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
- oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
- oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
- oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
- oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
- oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
- oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
- Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.