Karl Friedrich May (/maɪ/ MY, German: [kaʁl ˈmaɪ] (listen); 25 February 1842 – 30 March 1912) was a German author. He is best known for his 19th century novels of fictitious travels and adventures, set in the American Old West with Winnetou and Old Shatterhand as main protagonists and in the Orient and Middle East with fictional characters Kara Ben Nemsi and Hadschi Halef Omar.
May also wrote novels set in Latin America, China and Germany, poetry, a play, and composed music; he was a proficient player of several musical instruments. Many of his works were adapted for film, theatre, audio dramas and comics. Later in his career, May turned to philosophical and spiritual genres. He is one of the best-selling German writers of all time, with about 200,000,000 copies sold worldwide.