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Author Profiles: Ian McEwan - General Fiction

Author Name: Ian McEwan

Brief Biography:

Ian McEwan was born on 21st June 1948 in Aldershot, Hampshire, England. His father was an army officer and hence Ian spent much of his childhood in the Far East, Germany, and North Africa, wherever his father was posted. He returned to England to take a degree in English at Sussex University and then became the first student on a MA Creative Writing course established at the University of East Anglia by Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Society of Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he was awarded a CBE in 2000. He currently lives in London.

In 1975 his first collection of short stories was published, First Love, Last Rites, and then in 1978 a second set called In Between the Sheets. These were claustrophobic tales of childhood, deviant sexuality, and disjointed family life.

Then came his first novel, The Cement Garden, the story of four orphaned children living alone after the death of both parents. They take extreme measures to avoid being taken into care, and an incestuous relationship develops between the two eldest children as they try to emulate their parents roles. This novel was followed by The Comfort of Strangers, which is set in Venice and is a tale of fantasy, violence, and obsession.

Ian McEwan’s next novel, The Child in Time, was several years coming and marks a new confidence in his writing. The story centres around the devastating effect of the loss of child through abduction. There follows several wonderful novels including Atonement, which tells the story of Briony, a young girl and aspiring writer, and the consequences of a discovery she makes involving her elder sister Cecilia and their housekeeper’s son Robbie Turner. Her misinterpretation of this discovery and her resultant scheming drastically change the lives of all three forever. This novel was adapted for the screen by Christopher Hampton, and the very successful film released in 2007, receiving much critical acclaim. Keira Knightly plays Cecilia, James McEvoy Robbie, and Romola Garai Briony.

In addition to novels Ian McEwan has written plays for television and film screenplays. These include an adaptation of his own novel, The Innocent (1993). Further film adaptations of his own novels include First Love, Last Rites (1997), The Cement Garden (1993), The Comfort of Strangers (1991), and of course Atonement (2007) mentioned above.

As if that isn’t enough Ian McEwan also wrote the libretto to Michael Berkeley’s music for the oratorio Or Shall We Die?, and is currently writing the libretto to For You, a new opera about an ageing conductor/composer, again with music by Michael Berkeley.


Short Stories:

First Love, Last Rites, 1975, published by Cape
In Between the Sheets, 1978, published by Cape
The Cement Garden, 1978, published by Cape
The Comfort of Strangers, 1981, published by Cape
The Child in Time, 1987, published by Cape
The Innocent, 1990, published by Cape
Black Dogs, 1992, published by Cape
Enduring Love, 1997, published by Cape
Amsterdam, 1998, published by Cape
Atonement, 2001, published by Cape
Saturday, 2005, published by Cape
On Chesil Beach, 2007, published by Cape
For You: The Libretto, 2008, publisher Vintage

Children’s Books:

The Daydreamer, 1994, published by Cape

Prizes and Awards:

1976 Somerset Maugham Award for First Love, Last Rites
1981 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) for The Comfort of Strangers
1987 Whitbread Novel Award for The Child in Time
1993 Prix Fémina Etranger (France) for The Child in Time
1997 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) (shortlist) for Enduring Love
1998 Booker Prize for Fiction for Amsterdam
1999 Shakespeare Prize (Germany)
2000 CBE
2001 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) for Atonement
2001 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) (shortlist) for Atonement
2001 Whitbread Novel Award (shortlist) for Atonement
2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Fiction) (shortlist) for Atonement
2002 WH Smith Award for Fiction (shortlist) for Atonement
2002 WH Smith Literary Award for Atonement
2003 National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award (USA) for Atonement
2005 Man Booker International Prize (shortlist)
2006 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) for Saturday
2007 Man Booker International Prize (shortlist)
2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) for On Chesil Beach
2008 British Book Awards Author of the Year for On Chesil Beach
2008 British Book Awards Book of the Year Award for On Chesil Beach
2008 Good Housekeeping Book Award (best author) for On Chesil Beach

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