Michel Houellebecq (born Michel Thomas), born 26 February 1958 (birth certificate) or 1956 on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning 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, who writes vulgar sleazy literature to shock. His works though, particularly Atomised, have received high praise from the French literary intelligentsia, with generally positive international critical response, 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 Plateforme, 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. He currently resides in France, where he has been described as "France’s biggest literary export and, some say, greatest living writer". In 2010 he published La Carte et le Territoire (published the same year in English as The Map and the Territory) which won the prestigious Prix Goncourt; and, in 2015, Submission.