Acclaimed Scottish author pledges a decade of support for university students

Peter May, the international bestselling crime writer, Scottish television screenwriter and novelist, has gifted £10,000 to the University of the Highlands and Islands as part of its tenth birthday celebrations, to establish a decade of student prizes for fictional writing.

see full size image
Peter May

Peter, 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 30 June 2021. As well as launching the ‘The Peter May Fiction Prize’ he will talk about his novel ‘Lockdown’ and his own personal journey, on 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 15 October. The author will pick a winner, chosen from a shortlist of five, in December.  They will receive a cash prize of £1,000.

Talking about his motivation for setting up a competition with the university, Peter 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.  Just acknowledgment that someone else believes in you, too.  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, Head of Development at the University of the Highland and Islands added:

"This is a unique opportunity for University of the Highlands and Islands students, and we are hugely grateful to Peter for choosing to become one of our donors. 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. We look forward to working with Peter, our staff and students over the coming years.”

To register to join Leader Perspectives: with Peter May visit the university’s events page or email

More details about the competition can be found on the university's website.