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Ian McEwan was born on 21 June in 1948 in Aldershot, Hampshire, England. He spent much of his childhood in the Far East, Germany and North Africa where his father, an officer in the army, was posted. He returned to England and read English at Sussex University.

After graduating, he became the first student on the MA Creative Writing course established at the University of East Anglia by Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson.

He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the mcewan_ianAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg, in 1999. He was awarded a CBE in 2000.

In 1976 his first collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites (1975), won the Somerset Maugham Award. A second volume of stories, In Between the Sheets, appeared in 1978. These stories - claustrophobic tales of childhood, deviant sexuality and disjointed family life - were remarkable for their formal experimentation and controlled narrative voice. His first novel, The Cement Garden (1978), is the story of four orphaned children living alone after the death of both parents. To avoid being taken into care, they bury their mother in cement in the basement and attempt to carry on as normal a life as possible, and an incestuous relationship develops between the two eldest children as they seek to emulate their parents roles. It was followed by The Comfort of Strangers (1981), set in Venice, a tale of fantasy, violence and obsession. The book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

His next novel, The Child in Time (1987), won the Whitbread Novel Award, and marked a new confidence in McEwan's writing. The story is centred on the devastating effect of the loss of a child through abduction. The Innocent (1990) is a love story set in post-war Berlin. Black Dogs (1992) visits the most significant events of modern European history, ranging from Nazi death camps to post-war France and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Enduring Love (1997), begins with the death of a man in a ballooning accident, an event that triggers a tale of stalking, fixation and erotomania. Amsterdam (1998) is described by McEwan as a contemporary fable. Three men, a composer, a newspaper editor and a politician, meet at the funeral of their former lover, sparking off a bitter feud. It was awarded the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1998. 

Atonement (2001), shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread Novel Award and winner of the W. H. Smith Literary Award, begins in 1935 and tells the story of Briony, a young girl and aspiring writer, and the consequences of the discovery she makes about Robbie, a young man destined to play a part in the Dunkirk evacuations. This novel was adapted for the screen, and the film released in 2007. Saturday (2005), set on one day in February 2003, won the 2006 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction).

In addition to his prose fiction, Ian McEwan has written plays for television and film screenplays, including The Ploughman's Lunch (1985), an adaptation of Timothy Mo's novel Sour Sweet (1988) and an adaptation of his own novel, The Innocent (1993). He also wrote the libretto to Michael Berkeley's music for the oratorio Or Shall We Die? and is the author of a children's book, The Daydreamer (1994).

Film adaptations of his own novels include First Love, Last Rites (1997), The Cement Garden (1993) and The Comfort of Strangers (1991), for which Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay, and Atonement (2007).

Ian McEwan lives in London. His novel On Chesil Beach (2007), was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and winner of the British Book Awards Book of the Year and Author of the Year Awards. He latest book is the libretto to For You (2008), a new opera about an ageing conductor/composer, with music by Michael Berkeley. (up-dated 27th Jan, 2009). Ian McEwan at Blackwell Books


First Love, Last Rites   Cape, 1975

In Between the Sheets   Cape, 1978

The Cement Garden   Cape, 1978

The Comfort of Strangers   Cape, 1981

The Imitation Game   (three plays for television: Jack Flea's Birthday Celebration; Solid Geometry; The Imitation Game)   Cape, 1981

Or Shall We Die?   (libretto for an oratorio set to music by Michael Berkeley)   Cape, 1983

The Ploughman's Lunch   (film script)   Methuen, 1985

The Child in Time   Cape, 1987

Sour Sweet   (film script based on the novel by Timothy Mo)   Faber and Faber, 1988

The Innocent   Cape, 1990

Black Dogs   Cape, 1992

The Daydreamer   Cape, 1994

The Short Stories   Cape, 1995

Enduring Love   Cape, 1997

Amsterdam   Cape, 1998

Atonement   Cape, 2001

On Modern British Fiction   (contributor: 'Mother Tongue - A Memoir')   Oxford University Press, 2002

Saturday   Cape, 2005

On Chesil Beach   Cape, 2007

For You   Vintage, 2008

Prizes and awards

1976   Somerset Maugham Award   First Love, Last Rites

1981   Booker Prize for Fiction   (shortlist)   The Comfort of Strangers

1987   Whitbread Novel Award   The Child in Time

1993   Prix Fémina Etranger (France)   The Child in Time

1997   James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction)   (shortlist)   Enduring Love

1998   Booker Prize for Fiction   Amsterdam

1999   Shakespeare Prize (Germany)

2000   CBE

2001   Booker Prize for Fiction   (shortlist)   Atonement

2001   James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction)   (shortlist)   Atonement

2001   Whitbread Novel Award   (shortlist)   Atonement

2002   Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Fiction)   (shortlist)   Atonement

2002   WH Smith Award for Fiction   (shortlist)   Atonement

2002   WH Smith Literary Award   Atonement

2003   National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award (USA)   Atonement

2005   Man Booker International Prize   (shortlist)

2006   James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction)   Saturday

2007   Man Booker International Prize   (shortlist)

2007   Man Booker Prize for Fiction   (shortlist)   On Chesil Beach

2008   British Book Awards Author of the Year   On Chesil Beach

2008   British Book Awards Book of the Year Award   On Chesil Beach

2008   Good Housekeeping Book Award   (best author)   On Chesil Beach


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