Ian McEwan: Wikis


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Ian McEwan

Born Ian Russell McEwan
21 June 1948 (1948-06-21) (age 61)
Occupation Author, screenwriter
Nationality British
Period 1975 - present
Genres Recent history
Spouse(s) Penny Allen (1982-1995)
Annalena McAfee (1997-)
Official website

Ian Russell McEwan[1] CBE, FRSA, FRSL (born 21 June 1948) is a Booker Prize-winning English novelist and screenwriter.

In 2008, The Times named McEwan among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[2]


Early life

McEwan was born in Aldershot, the son of Rose Lilian Violet (née Moore) and David McEwan.[1] He spent much of his childhood in East Asia, Germany and North Africa, where his father, a Scottish army officer, was posted. He was educated at Woolverstone Hall School, the University of Sussex and the University of East Anglia, where he was one of the first graduates of Malcolm Bradbury's pioneering creative writing course.


McEwan's first published work was a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites (1975), which won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976. He achieved notoriety in 1979 when the BBC suspended production of his play Solid Geometry due to its supposed obscenity.[3] The Cement Garden (1978) and The Comfort of Strangers (1981) were his two earliest novels. The nature of these works caused him to be nicknamed "Ian Macabre."[4]. These were followed by three novels of some success in the 1980s and early 1990s.

His 1997 novel, Enduring Love, about the relationship between a science writer and a stalker, was extremely popular with critics, although it was not shortlisted for the Booker Prize.[5][6] In 1998, he was awarded the Booker Prize for his novel Amsterdam. His next novel, Atonement, received considerable acclaim; Time Magazine named it the best novel of 2002, and it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In 2007, the critically acclaimed movie "Atonement", directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, was released in cinemas worldwide. His next work, Saturday, follows an especially eventful day in the life of a successful neurosurgeon. Saturday won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for 2005, and his novel On Chesil Beach was shortlisted for the 2007 Booker Prize. McEwan has also written a number of produced screenplays, a stage play, children's fiction, an oratorio and a libretto titled For You with music composed by Michael Berkeley.

McEwan's most recent completed work, Solar, will be published by Jonathan Cape and Doubleday in March 2010. In June 2008 at the Hay Festival, McEwan gave a surprise reading of this work-in-progress. According to reportage of the reading in The Guardian, the novel concerns "a scientist who hopes to save the planet."[7] from the threat of climate change, with inspiration for the novel coming from a trip McEwan made in 2005 "when he was part of an expedition of artists and scientists who spent several weeks aboard a ship near the north pole to discuss environmental concerns". McEwan divulged to the audience that "The novel's protagonist Michael Beard has been awarded a Nobel prize for his pioneering work on physics, and has discovered that winning the coveted prize has interfered with his work."[7] but denied that the novel, which is not due to be published for at least two years, was a comedy, saying instead that it had extended comic stretches: "I hate comic novels; it's like being wrestled to the ground and being tickled, being forced to laugh.""[7]

McEwan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg, in 1999. He is also a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. He was awarded a CBE in 2000.[8] In 2005, he was the first recipient of Dickinson College's prestigious Herold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholar and Writers Program Award[9], in Carlisle, PA, USA, and in 2008, McEwan was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by University College, London, where he used to teach English literature.

Personal life

He has been married twice. His second wife, Annalena McAfee, was formerly the editor of The Guardian's Review section. In 1999, his first wife, Penny Allen, kidnapped their 13-year-old son after a court in Brittany ruled that the boy should be returned to his father, who had been granted sole custody over him and his 15-year-old brother.[10]

In 2002, McEwan discovered that he had a brother who had been given up for adoption during World War II; the story became public in 2007.[11] The brother, a bricklayer named David Sharp, was born six years earlier than McEwan, when his mother was married to a different man. Sharp has the same parents as McEwan but was born from an affair between them that occurred before their marriage. After her first husband was killed in combat, McEwan's mother married her lover, and Ian was born a few years later.[12] The brothers are in regular contact, and McEwan has written a foreword to Sharp's memoir.

McEwan has been nominated for the Man Booker prize six times to date, winning the Prize for Amsterdam in 1998. His other nominations were for The Comfort of Strangers (1981, Shortlisted), Black Dogs (1992, Shortlisted), Atonement (2001, Shortlisted), Saturday (2005, Shortlisted), and On Chesil Beach (2007, Shortlisted). McEwan also received nominations for the Man Booker International Prize in 2005 and 2007.[13]


In 2008, McEwan publicly spoke out against Islamism for its views on women and homosexuality. He was quoted as saying that fundamentalist Islam wanted to create a society that he "abhorred". His comments appeared in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, to defend fellow writer Martin Amis against allegations of racism. McEwan, a self-described atheist,[14] said that Christianity was "equally absurd" and that he didn't "like these medieval visions of the world according to which God is coming to save the faithful and to damn the others."[15]

McEwan put forward the following statement on his official site and blog after claiming he was misinterpreted:

Certain remarks of mine to an Italian journalist have been widely misrepresented in the UK press, and on various websites. Contrary to reports, my remarks were not about Islam, but about Islamism - perhaps 'extremism' would be a better term. I grew up in a Muslim country - Libya - and have only warm memories of a dignified, tolerant and hospitable Islamic culture. I was referring in my interview to a tiny minority who preach violent jihad, who incite hatred and violence against 'infidels', apostates, Jews and homosexuals; who in their speeches and on their websites speak passionately against free thought, pluralism, democracy, unveiled women; who will tolerate no other interpretation of Islam but their own and have vilified Sufism and other strands of Islam as apostasy; who have murdered, among others, fellow Muslims by the thousands in the market places of Iraq, Algeria and in the Sudan. Countless Islamic writers, journalists and religious authorities have expressed their disgust at this extremist violence. To speak against such things is hardly 'astonishing' on my part (Independent on Sunday) or original, nor is it 'Islamophobic' and 'right wing' as one official of the Muslim Council of Britain insists, and nor is it to endorse the failures and brutalities of US foreign policy. It is merely to invoke a common humanity which I hope would be shared by all religions as well as all non-believers.'[16]

In 2008, McEwan was among a list of more than 200,000 writers of a petition to support Roberto Saviano, in exposing the Neapolitan mafia in the book, Gomorrah. The petition urges Italian police to assure the full protection of Saviano from the mafia, while comparing the mob's threats against Saviano to "the tactics used by extremist religious groups".[17]



Short story collections

Children's fiction

  • Rose Blanche (1985)
  • The Daydreamer (1994)


  • The Imitation Game (1981)



  • or Shall We Die? (1983)


  • For You (2008)

Film adaptations

External links

Further reading

  • Byrnes, Christina (1995), Sex and Sexuality in Ian McEwan's Work, Nottingham, England: Pauper's Press. ISBN 094665056X
  • Byrnes, Christina (2002), The Work of Ian McEwan: A Psychodynamic Approach, Nottingham, England: Paupers' Press. ISBN 0946650756
  • Byrnes, Bernie C. (2006), Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' and 'Saturday', Nottingham, England: Paupers' Press. ISBN 094665090X
  • Byrnes, Bernie C. (2008), McEwan's Only Childhood, Nottingham: Paupers' Press. ISBN 0946650942
  • Childs, Peter (2005), The Fiction of Ian McEwan (Readers' Guides to Essential Criticism), Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403919097
  • D'Eliva, Gaetano, and Christopher Williams, (1986), La Nuova Letteratura Inglese Ian McEwan, Schena Editore.
  • Dodou, Katherina (2009), Childhood Without Children: Ian McEwan and the Critical Study of the Child, Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University. ISBN 9789150621129
  • Jensen, Morten H. (2005), The Effects of Conflict in the Novels of Ian McEwan - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  • Malcolm, David (2002), Understanding Ian McEwan, University of South Carolina. ISBN 1570034362
  • Pedot, Richard (1999), Perversions Textuelles dans la Fiction d'Ian McEwan, Editions l'Harmattan.
  • Reynolds, Margaret, and Jonathan Noakes, (2002), Ian McEwan: The Essential Guide, Vintage. ISBN 0099437554
  • Roberts, Ryan (2010), Conversations with Ian McEwan, University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781604734201
  • Rooney, Anne (2006), Atonement, York Notes. ISBN 1405835613
  • Ryan, Kiernan (1994), Ian McEwan (Writers and Their Work), Northcote House. ISBN 074630742X
  • Slay Jr., Jack (1996), Ian McEwan (Twayne's English Authors Series), Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0805745785
  • Williams, Christopher (1993), Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden and the Tradition of the Child/Adolescent as 'I-NarratorPDF (209 KiB), Biblioteca della Ricerca, Schena Editore. - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)


  1. ^ a b http://www.filmreference.com/film/14/Ian-McEwan.html
  2. ^ (5 January 2008). The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. The Times. Retrieved on 2010-02-01.
  3. ^ Ian McEwan: Writers and Their Work by Kiernan Ryan publ 1994
  4. ^ Walsh, John (2007-01-27). "Ian McEwan: Here's the twist". Independent Online Edition. http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article2169220.ece. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  5. ^ Knorr, Katherine (1997-10-09). "Enduring Love". International Herald Tribune. http://www.iht.com/articles/1997/10/09/bookjeu.t.php. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  6. ^ "Ian McEwan's Family Values". Boston Review. http://bostonreview.net/BR31.1/boylan.html. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  7. ^ a b c http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jun/02/hayfestival2008.hayfestival
  8. ^ "Ian McEwan". Contemporary Writers. British Council. http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth70. Retrieved 2006-06-03. 
  9. ^ http://www.collegenews.org/x4876.xml
  10. ^ "Novelist's ex-wife 'gagged'". BBC News. 1999-09-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/440893.stm. Retrieved 2006-06-03. 
  11. ^ Cowell, Alan (2007-01-17). "Ian McEwan's life takes twist with discovery of a brother". International Herald Tribune. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/17/news/brother.php. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  12. ^ "Novelist McEwan discovers brother". BBC News. 2007-01-11. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6269887.stm. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  13. ^ http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/authors/38
  14. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/magazine/02wwln-Q4-t.html
  15. ^ Popham, Peter (2008-06-22). "'I despise Islamism': Ian McEwan faces backlask over press interview". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/i-despise-islamism-ian-mcewan-faces-backlash-over-press-interview-852030.html. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  16. ^ ian-mcewan.blogspot.com
  17. ^ The Guardian "Ian McEwan condemns 'thuggery' of Neapolitan mafia." Flood, Alison. Oct.24,2008.
  18. ^ http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,2283305,00.html
  19. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/aug/04/ianmcewan-fiction


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ian McEwan (born June 21, 1948) is a British novelist.


  • Ian McEwan: I guess my starting point would be: the brain is responsible for consciousness, and we can be reasonably sure that when that brain ceases to be, when it falls apart and decomposes, that will be the end of us. From that quite a lot of things follow, especially morally. We are the very privileged owners of a brief spark of consciousness, and we therefore have to take responsibility for it. We cannot rely, as Christians or Muslims do, on a world elsewhere, a paradise, to which one can work towards and maybe make sacrifices, and, crucially, make sacrifices of other people. We have a marvellous gift, and you see it develop in children, this ability to become aware that other people have minds just like your own and feelings that are just as important as your own, and this gift of empathy seems to me to be the building block of our moral system.

    Richard Dawkins: I profoundly agree with you, and I've always felt that one of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all.

    Ian McEwan: And if you have a sacred text that tells you how the world began or what the relationship is between this sky-god and you, it does curtail your curiosity, it cuts off a source of wonder. The loveliness of the world in its wondrousness is not apparent to me in Islam or Christianity and all the other major religions.

  • Now, I'm an atheist. I really don't believe for a moment that our moral sense comes from a God. … It's human, universal, [it's] being able to think our way into the minds of others. As I said at the time, what those holy fools clearly lacked, or clearly were able to deny themselves, was the ability to enter into the minds of the people they were being so cruel to. Amongst their crimes, is, was, a failure of the imagination, of the moral imagination.[1]
    • on the 9/11 hijackers


External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Ian McEwan CBE, (born June 21, 1948), is a British novelist (sometimes nicknamed "Ian Macabre" because of the nature of his early work).



McEwan was born in Aldershot in England and spent much of his childhood in the Far East, Germany and North Africa where his father, an officer in the army, was posted. He was educated at the University of Sussex and the University of East Anglia, where he was the first graduate of Malcolm Bradbury's pioneering creative writing course.

He has been married twice. His second wife, Annalena McAfee, is the editor of the Guardian's Review section.

In March and April of 2004, just months after the British government had invited him to a dinner with First Lady of the United States Laura Bush, McEwan was denied entry into the United States by the United States Department of Homeland Security for not having the proper visa for earning a living (McEwan was preparing to give a series of paid lectures). Only after several days and publicity in the British press was McEwan admitted because, as he said a customs official had told him, "We still do not want to let you in, but this is attracting a lot of unfavourable publicity."

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


His first published work was the collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites (1975), which won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976.

The Cement Garden (1978) and Black Dogs (1992) were his early novels.

His 1997 novel, Enduring Love, about a person with de Clerambault's syndrome, is regarded by many as a masterpiece, though Atonement has received equally high acclaim.

In 1998, he was controversially awarded the Booker Prize for his novella, Amsterdam.

His latest novel, Saturday, follows an especially eventful day in the life of a neurosurgeon. Mr Henry Perowne, the main character, lives in a house on a square in central London where McEwan himself lives after relocating from Oxford.



  • The Cement Garden (1978, filmed in 1993)
  • The Comfort of Strangers (1981, filmed in 1990)
  • The Child in Time (1987)
  • The Innocent (1989, filmed in 1993)
  • Black Dogs (1992)
  • Enduring Love (1997, filmed in 2004)
  • Amsterdam (1998)
  • Atonement (2001)
  • Saturday (2005)
  • On Chesil Beach (2007)

Short fiction collections

  • First Love, Last Rites (1975)
  • In Between the Sheets (1978)

Children's fiction

  • Rose Blanche (1985)
  • The Daydreamer (1994)


  • The Imitation Game (1981)


  • Ploughman's Lunch (1985)
  • Sour Sweet (1989)
  • The Good Son (1993)


  • or Shall We Die? (1983)


Other websites

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