Ian McEwan (1948– ). Major contemporary novelist, likely to be remembered for Atonement (2001). The son of an officer, McEwan has described himself as an “army brat.” He was born in Aldershot and spent parts of his childhood in Tripoli and Singapore. Educated at the Universities of Sussex and East Anglia, he studied creative writing with Malcolm Bradbury (1932–2000) and Angus Wilson (1913–1991). McEwan’s career can be divided into two parts. The early works, including The Cement Garden (1978) and The Comfort of Strangers (1981), often center on acts of grotesque violence—and help to explain why he was once known as “Ian Macabre.” Recent works, including Atonement and Saturday (2005), show a considerable advance in maturity. In Atonement, McEwan explores the connection between creation and destruction. In Saturday, he considers the relationship between literature and science, taking as his central character a neurosurgeon who admits to disliking fiction. In addition to his nine novels, McEwan has also written screenplays, libretti, and two works for children.
[Courtesy: Professor Timothy Spurgin]