Ian McEwan has been hailed as the finest writer of his generation.  His books have taken as their subjects some of the most controversial of issues, including climate change, euthanasia and the invasion of Iraq.  He has won the Booker Prize, seen his work performed on screen by Daniel Craig and Keira Knightley, and even had the honour of being confused with someone else by Tony Blair.  He remains one of the most exciting and productive of contemporary British authors.

Ian McEwan
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumIan McEwan - Credit: Eamon McCabe

Early Life:

Ian McEwan was born on 21 June 1948 in Aldershot, Hampshire. His father, David, was an officer in the British Army, and as a result the McEwan family spent much of Ian's childhood overseas at various posts in Asia, Africa and Europe. 

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McEwan was educated at Woolverstone Hall School, a secondary grammar boarding school for London boys. He then went on to study at the University of Sussex and the University of East Anglia. He was awarded a BA (English Literature) from Sussex and an MA from East Anglia. He was one of the first graduates of a pioneering creative writing course at UEA run by Malcolm Bradbury, a noteable British author and academic. 


His first published work was a collection of short stories entitled First Love, Last Rites (1975), which won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976. Since then he has written eleven novels, a further short story collection, two children's stories, one play, three screenplays, one oratorio and one opera. 


In addition to winning an important prize for his first published work, McEwan has been awarded numerous other prestigious literary accolades. He was awarded the Booker Prize for his novel Amsterdam in 1998, and was shortlisted again in 2002 and 2007 for Atonement and On Chesil Beach respectively. His novel Atonement received the WH Smith Literary Award (2002), National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award (2003), Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction (2003), and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel (2004). For Saturday, he was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Award in 2005. In the same year, he was the first recipient of Dickinson College's prestigious Herold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholar and Writers Program Award, in Pennsylvania, USA. In 2008, his novel On Chesil Beach was named Galaxy Book of the Year at the British Book Awards.

In 2008 McEwan was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by University College, London where he used to teach English Literature. He was also made CBE in 2000. 

Several of his novels, as well as two short stories from the collection First Love, Last Rites, have been adapted for the screen. 



The Cement Garden (1978); The Comfort of Strangers (1981); The Child in Time (1987); The Innocent (1990); Black Dogs (1992); Enduring Love (1997); Amsterdam (1998); Atonement (2001); Saturday (2005); On Chesil Beach (2007); Solar (2010).


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


Rose Blanche (1985); The Daydreamer (1994)


The Imitation Game (1981)


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


or Shall We Die? (1983)


For You (2008)

Ian McEwan Website