(Ian Russell McEwan)məkyo͞o´ən [key]
, 1948–, English novelist, b. Aldershot, B.A. Univ. of Sussex, 1970, M.A. Univ. of East Anglia, 1971. His early short-story collections, First Love, Last Rites
(1975) and Between the Sheets
(1978), and novels, The Cement Garden
(1978) and The Comfort of Strangers
(1981), gained recognition for their experimentation with form and their violence, tone of macabre menace, and obsessive sexuality. In later novels McEwan moved away from more perverse themes while continuing to write elegant prose, to display psychological insight into his characters, and to explore ways that extreme situations impact ordinary people. The Child in Time
(1987, Whitbread Prize), the first of his mature novels, tells of the terrible repercussions a baby's kidnapping has on her parents. McEwan was awarded the Booker Prize for his satirical Amsterdam
(1998), and was acclaimed for Atonement
(2001), a disquieting tale of childish misinterpretation and moral responsibility, and Saturday
(2005), the story of an event-filled day in the life of a neurosurgeon in post-9/11 Britain. Other novels include The Innocent
(1990), Black Dogs
(1992), Enduring Love
(1997), On Chesil Beach
(2010), Sweet Tooth
(2012), The Children Act
(2016), and Machines Like Me
(2019). McEwan also has written radio, television, and film scripts, an opera libretto, and children's books.
See studies by K. Ryan (1994), C. Byrnes (1995), J. Slay, Jr. (1996), C. Byrnes (2002), D. Malcolm (2002), and P. Childs, ed. (2005).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature, 20th cent. to the Present: Biographies