French novelist. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire; to detractors he is a peddler of sleaze and shock. Having written poetry and a biography of the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, he brought out his first novel Extension du domaine de la lutte in 1994. Les particules élémentaires followed in 1998 and Plateform, in 2001. After a disastrous publicity tour for this book, which led to his being taken to court for inciting racial hatred, he went to Ireland to write. Michel Houellebecq won France's top literary award, the Goncourt Prize, for his book The Map and the Territory in 2010. He currently lives in Spain.