Family & Companions
While the uninitiated may not immediately recognize Ian McEwan's name, avid readers knew he was a literary giant. McEwan's works were often considered works of genius - his 2005 novel Atonement was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1923 - and undoubtedly placed him as one of the greatest British authors of the latter half of the 20th Century. He was born on June 21, 1948 to David McEwan and Rose Lillian Violet. Although he was born in Aldershot, England, his father was a non-commissioned officer of the British army who frequently travelled to military bases around the world. McEwan thus spent most of his childhood abroad in places such as East Asia, Germany, and North Africa. When his family returned to England when he was 12 years old, he attended the Woolverstone Hall School, followed by the University of Sussex where he received his degree in English literature in 1970. While he was pursuing his masters degree in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, McEwan began working on a collection of short stories which were eventually compiled into his first published work, First Love, Last Rites (1975). The dark themes he explored in the anthology and his other early works - his second collection of short stories titled In Between the Sheets (1978) and his two first novels The Cement Garden (1978) and The Comfort of Strangers (1981) - earned him the nickname "Ian Macabre" within literary circles. In the mid 1980s, McEwan began to dabble into screenwriting, first with "The Ploughman's Lunch" (1983), a film that starred Jonathan Pryce and Tim Curry, followed by the made-for-TV movie "Last Day of Summer" (1984) that was based on his own original story. The moderate success of these films, as well as his third novel, The Child of Time (1987), paved the way to bigger gains in the following decades.
By the early nineties, McEwan's works gained greater recognition in both the literary and film circles. In 1990, the film "The Comfort of Strangers" marked the first time one of his novels was adapted for the big screen and the Cold War-themed novel, The Innocent (1990), was released to critical acclaim. Three years later, the novel was adapted into a film that starred Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins. In the same year, his debut novel The Cement Garden was also turned into a feature film, while moviegoers were treated with McEwan's screenplay for the thriller "The Good Son" (1993) starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Elijah Wood. In the late 1990s, his novels Enduring Love (1997) and Amsterdam (1998) placed McEwan as one of the premier authors in English literature. Both novels were nearly universally praised by the critics, while Amsterdam garnered his first win of the Man Booker Prize for best original novel. McEwan's next novel Atonement (2001), was often considered his magnum opus. Although the family saga was only shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it won the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and was named Time's best fiction novel of the year as well as making the magazine's list of "All-Time 100 Greatest Novels." These three novels all received film adaptations, with 2007's "Atonement" receiving numerous accolades and becoming an Oscar nominee for Best Motion Picture of the Year. It was not a surprise that England's daily newspaper The Times named McEwan in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945," which placed him among other literary greats such as George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. In 2014, McEwan released his thirteenth novel titled The Children Act which focused on a judge's inner turmoil over a difficult case with conflicting evidence.
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Began writing at age 22
Published his first collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites
Wrote the acclaimed British TV play, "The Imitation Game," directed by Richard Eyre (released theatrically in 1983)
Feature screenwriting debut, "The Ploughman's Lunch," directed by Richard Eyre
Adapted Timothy Mo's novel, "Soursweet" for a feature directed by Mike Newell
US feature screenwriting debut, "The Good Son"
Wrote the novel, Enduring Love; adapted into a feature in 2004, starring Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans and Samantha Morton
Awarded the Booker Prize for his novel Amsterdam
Published the novel, Atonement; was named best novel of 2002 by Time magazine
Published the novel, Saturday, which follows an especially eventful day in the life of a successful neurosurgeon
"Atonement" starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, was adapted from his novel of the same name