Born in 1948, Ian McEwan started writing short stories in 1970. His first collection, First Love, Last Rites, won enormous praise and the Somerset Maugham Award 1976 for its sophisticated depiction of sensuality and depravity. A second collection, In Between the Sheets, has been followed by two brilliantly executed novels, The Cement Garden (1978) and The Comfort of Strangers (1981). His play for television, The Imitation Game (directed by Richard Eyre) – which Clive James applauded as ‘a ‘Play for Today’ of rare distinction’ – earned him a wider audience and even hotter critical attention. So, sadly, did Solid Geometry, a television play adapted from one of his short stories, which the BBC aborted just before it went into production.
A man for all media, McEwan has also written a deeply felt oratorio about the nuclear threat, Or Shall We Die?, set by Michael Berkeley and performed earlier this year by the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Richard Hickox. His feature film about contemporary England, The Ploughman’s Lunch