||The Ian McEwan papers consist of drafts of published and unpublished works, personal
and professional correspondence, notebooks, photographs, clippings, and family
papers from English novelist Ian McEwan. The professional and personal papers
document McEwan's diverse writing career and range of creative output including
novels; short stories; essays; lectures; scripts for radio, television and stage;
screenplays; and libretti. The papers are organized into five series: I. Works,
1969-2013, undated; II. Correspondence, 1968-2014, undated; III. Personal and
Professional, 1930s-2014 (bulk 1974-2013); IV. Works by Others, 1976-2012, undated;
and V. Serials and Publications, 1973-2014.
||The materials arrived at the Ransom Center in labeled A4 size document storage boxes
and the arrangement outlined here closely reflects McEwan's original record
||Series I. Works consists of 29 document boxes of materials associated with McEwan's
writings. It is arranged into four subseries: A. Novels and Collections, 1970-2009,
undated; B. Screenplays, Film Adaptations, Scripts, 1974-2010; C. Short Stories,
circa 1969-1997; and D. Other Writings, 1969-2013, undated. Works in each of these
subseries are arranged in alphabetical order by title.
||Subseries: A. Novels and Collections represents all of McEwan's book-length works
published between 1976 and 2010, except for the children's book Rose Blanche (1985). Within each title, the material
generally follows the chronological order of literary production, from research
notes to publication proofs. When present, related material such as dust jacket
proofs, editorial correspondence, publicity material, and New Yorker page proofs of
excerpts follow the drafts. There are a few pages of notes and draft fragments
the novel Sweet Tooth (2012), but this material does
not reflect the full writing process as represented with the other works.
||McEwan often used green A4 notebooks to write story ideas and fragments of manuscript
text. The notebooks were filed by McEwan with the manuscript material for the
corresponding novel, but such notebooks often contain other notes and draft
fragments for other unrelated writings, jottings, and personal impressions. When
identifiable, these writings are noted in the container list. The notebooks for
novels Atonement (2001) and Enduring Love (1997) are particularly interesting. In the case of
Enduring Love, McEwan sketched out drawings of
the hot air balloon and placement of the characters to help visualize the scene.
||There are several draft iterations present for most of McEwan's books. If
discernable, drafts remain arranged as they were filed by McEwan. Since McEwan
heavily revised drafts, his edits can often indicate draft sequence. Early working
are sometimes incomplete, and consist of only specific chapters or segments.
Incomplete and unnumbered draft pages make it difficult at times to discern any
intended order, and these materials remain in the order that they arrived at the
Ransom Center. Paper dividers inserted during processing indicate obvious breaks
page segments. If McEwan provided a title for the draft, that title was used in
container list and is indicated in single quotes in the container list.
||The heavily revised drafts illustrate McEwan's constant efforts to shape and perfect
the text. Drafts of the novels Atonement, The Child in Time, and The
Innocent demonstrate very different plot structures than the final
published versions. For example, the first draft of The
Innocent begins with a flashback to a funeral. An early draft of part
one of Atonement has the family named Brenner (rather
than Tallis), published versions of chapters one and two switched, and the removal
of the scene in which characters arrive at a train stop on the family estate.
||McEwan often asked close friends to review near-final drafts of his novels and there
are drafts bearing marks by Craig Raine and Tim Garton Ash; particularly for Atonement, Black Dogs,
Enduring Love, On Chesil
Beach, and Saturday. McEwan's wife,
Annalena McAfee, was a frequent reader of McEwan's drafts and frequently wrote
comments throughout the writing process; particularly for Atonement, Enduring Love, On Chesil Beach, Saturday, and Solar.
||An explanation of terms used in the finding aid to describe drafts:
- annotations--notes or comments by McEwan or a
- edits--notes or corrections by a third party (copy
- revisions--handwritten re-workings of
- top copy--the top copy of multi paged carbon
- typescript--manuscript created using either a
typewriter or a word processed printout.
- working draft--handwritten or typed that
contains notes, paragraphs, or fragments.
||Noteworthy within the Atonement material are clippings
and correspondence related to plagiarism accusations published in the Mail on Sunday in 2006. The paper pointed out close
similarities between McEwan's descriptions of the wounded soldiers in Atonement's hospital scenes and segments of No Time for Romance; an autobiography McEwan used for
research written by wartime nurse Lucilla Andrews. Many prominent writers, including
Thomas Pynchon, came to McEwan's defense.
||Of notable interest within the Enduring Love material
are the items that are related to an article that appeared as Appendix I in the
novel. "A Homo-Erotic Obsession, with Religious
Overtones: A Clinical Variant of de Clerambault's Syndrome" is a case
study of an anonymous patient (Jed Parry) suffering from de Clerambault's Syndrome
and written by the fictional researchers Robert Wenn and Antonio Camia (Wenn and
Camia being anagrams of the name Ian McEwan) and cited as published in the equally
fictional British Review of Psychiatry. Box 7.10 contains the green A4 notebook
McEwan used for notes in forming the novel. Near the middle-end of the notebook,
is the page with
McEwan using his name to form Wenn and Camia. In box 8.1 is a faxed response to
Research Fellow "R. Wenn" from the legitimate publication, the British Journal of Psychiatry, thanking him for his
submission to the journal. As a result of much debate within the editorial
correspondence printed in the British Journal of
Psychiatry (Psychiatric Bulletin) as to the Appendix's legitimacy and
whether it inspired the novel or whether the novel inspired the appendix, in box
is a letter from McEwan confirming that Appendix I is fictional.
||McEwan's desire for creating realistic situations can also be seen in his intense
research for the novel Saturday. In his very
technical descriptions of Dr. Henry Perowne performing surgery, McEwan observed
hours of actual surgery and was assisted by neurosurgeon Dr. Neil Kitchen. The
A4 notebook in box 14.1 and research notes in 14.3 demonstrate McEwan's attention
detail as he observed these medical procedures.
||Subseries B. Screenplays, Film Adaptations, Scripts contains McEwan's original
scripts for film, television, and radio, as well as film adaptations of his novels
written by himself and other writers. The subseries is arranged alphabetically
title with a general category of television and radio scripts filed at the end.
||McEwan's produced feature length screenplays include The Good
Son (1993), The Innocent (1993), and
The Ploughman's Lunch (1983). Five of McEwan's
novels were adapted for film by other writers and produced for theatrical release:
the multi-nominated award-winning film Atonement
(2007, adapted by Christopher Hampton); Enduring Love (2004, adapted by Joe
Penhall); First Love, Last Rites (1997, adapted by
David Ryan and Jesse Peretz); and The Cement Garden
(1993, adapted by Andrew Birkin). In 1985, McEwan wrote a film treatment and initial
script based on his novel, The Comfort of Strangers;
however, the film released in 1990 was based on Harold Pinter's screenplay
adaptation. Disparate drafts of screenplays for produced and unproduced films
present. For films in which he wasn't the author of the screenplay, McEwan often
made script notes and in the case of Atonement and
Enduring Love served as executive and associate
producer (respectively). A small amount of production and publicity material for
films Atonement, Enduring
Love, and The Ploughman's Lunch are filed
after the script drafts. For supplementary material related to McEwan's films
adaptations, see the Professional Correspondence subseries and in the Personal
Professional series, see press clippings and photographs.
||Of note in the series are folders 26.2-3 which contains McEwan's teleplay Solid Geometry, as well as the accompanying publicity
and correspondence that resulted from the BBC's decision to cease production
immediately before filming.
||The scripts, notes, outlines, and treatments filed in the 'Television and Radio'
section was grouped together by McEwan in a folder bearing his notations. These
early radio and teleplays written in the mid-1970s, are his adaptations of his
||Subseries C. Short Stories is predominately made up of two segments of writings
originally maintained by McEwan in marked and labeled envelopes: 'complete but
abandoned' and 'unfinished-abandoned.' Many of these stories were apparently written
while attending the University of East Anglia and have instructor's comments written
on them (unidentified, but perhaps by Malcolm Bradbury and/or Angus Wilson). Despite
McEwan's categorization of 'complete but abandoned,' "Conversations with a Cupboard Man" was published first in the Transatlantic Review and then later in his short story
collection First Love, Last Rites.
||Subseries D. Other writings includes drafts for book contributions, essays, speeches,
lectures, remarks made at public events, book reviews, early journalism, as well
unidentified short writings. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by category:
book contributions; essays; journalism; lectures, speeches, events; novel excerpts;
reviews; assorted short writings; and writing notes and unidentified fragments.
Within each of these, works are arranged alphabetically by title, followed by
untitled works (with the exception of book contributions, which is arranged by
author). Works that have been labeled "untitled" are followed by brief subject
phrases in brackets. If publication information is evident, it is also included
||Of particular interest within book contributions is McEwan's foreword, entitled
"Reading Station," to his brother David
Sharp's memoir Complete Surrender (2008). Also
included with this material are McEwan's comments and historical corrections to
||Topics covered in McEwan's essays include such broad subjects as his writing, climate
change, Charles Darwin and natural selection, world events, and tributes to writers
such as Saul Bellow and John Updike. Many of these essays were published in
periodicals such as the Guardian and the Observer.
||'Journalism, etc.' contains clippings and complete issues of publications with pieces
by McEwan during the 1970s and 1980s. The clippings are book, theatre, and film
reviews; editorial essays; or feature stories published in the New Statesman, the
Observer, Radio Times, and the Spectator.
||McEwan is a highly sought out speaker and received a tremendous amount of requests
speak at writing and science conferences. In addition, McEwan received many awards
related to his literary accomplishments as well as his interest in climate change
and science and the humanities. The segment "Lectures, Speeches, Events" includes
drafts of speeches, and introductory remarks given by McEwan at such public events.
In some cases, files also contain programs, publicity, research, and itineraries;
though the bulk of material of this type is arranged in the Personal and
Professional series. Many of these public addresses were later published and if
information could be determined, it is included in the description.
||Also included in this subseries are brief typescript excerpts from some of McEwan's
novels. These pages were not originally filed with the drafts, which suggests
were used as reference material or were used during public readings.
||The segment entitled "assorted short writings" includes many brief pieces that were
often not intended for publication, such as obituaries, a travel diary, and other
unidentified essays. These are complete drafts; unlike the material filed in
"writing notes and unidentified fragments," which is made up of untitled working
drafts, notes, or jottings that are unidentified.
||Series III. Correspondence contains personal, professional, and reader's letters.
series is arranged into four subseries: A. Personal, 1968-2014; B. Professional,
1971-2014; C. Readers, 1987-circa 2000s; and D. Outgoing, 1979-circa 2000s. The
arrangement is based upon McEwan's general categories.
||Personal correspondence consists primarily of letters with family and close friends.
McEwan filed the letters in A4 document boxes by date span, which are noted in
container list. In order to help locate specific correspondence, the letters are
further arranged alphabetically by name within these date spans. The bulk of letters
received in the late 1960s to the 1980s were from university friends and colleagues,
who often comment on McEwan's writings. Frequent correspondents include: Felicity
"Flick" Allen, Julian Barnes, Polly Bide, Sue Birtwistle, Malcolm Bradbury, Carmen
Callil, Jon Cook, Richard Eyre, Stephen Gerber, Ray Neinstein, Vic Sage, John
and Angus Wilson. There is a considerable volume of letters from McEwan's mother,
Rose, with occasional letters from his father David.
||Later letters often relate to personal and professional occasions and life events;
such as when McEwan received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire
in 2000, birthdays, weddings, publication congratulations, and similar sentiments.
Correspondents include writers (e.g. Julian Barnes, Antonia Fraser, Jayne Anne
Phillips, Harold Pinter, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, John Updike), artists (e.g.
David Buckland), musicians (e.g. Paul McCartney and Mark Knopfler), politicians
statesmen (e.g. Tony Blair, Walter Veltroni), scientists (e.g. James Watson),
literary critics (e.g. Amanda Craig, Frank Kermode), and many journalists.
||Professional correspondence begins in 1971 with a letter from Ted Solotaroff of the
New American Review (later the American Review) wherein Solotaroff speaks to McEwan
about his unique voice and promising future as a writer. Other professional
correspondence includes letters from publishers, agents, fans, aspiring writers,
universities, and other professional associates. A majority of letters are requests
for appearances, interviews, signed books, charitable donations of books or money,
permission for rights to adapt McEwan's work, and invitations to book and literary
festivals. Requests also include letters from university students studying McEwan's
works and posing questions regarding his writings and themes. There are many letters
from students beginning in 1995 when A Child in Time
was selected as a set text for A-level English literature exam by the Associated
||The Professional Correspondence segment is in date order at the folder level; letters
within folders are not specifically arranged. Contracts and travel itineraries
book tours are frequently filed within the professional correspondence. Beginning
approximately 1987, McEwan began to employ secretaries to answer his mail and
carbon copy of his secretary's response is often attached to the incoming letter.
Among Ian McEwan's secretaries were Heather Mansell-Jones, Nicky Forsythe, Beth
Coventry, Lesley-Ann Fairbrother (many outgoing attached 1989-1990), and Svetlin
||Of particular interest is the correspondence between McEwan and American author John
Updike; as well as McEwan's correspondence with the Writers Guild of America
regarding arbitration to determine writing credits for the screenplay The Good
||'Publishers, etc.' was a file of incoming letters, contracts, and faxes from
publishers and firms including Random House, Harper Collins, Jonathan Cape, Chatto
and Windus, and Uitgeverij De Harmonie; however, letters from these
companies are filed throughout the professional subseries. This folder also includes
edits for Enduring Love, an Enduring Love page proof excerpt published in the New Yorker, and editorial feedback regarding a first
draft screenplay called 'Flies' from The Forge
(Fox Creative Group). Much of this correspondence is similar to what may be found
the other professional correspondence, but this was maintained in its original
segment and arranged chronologically by the Ransom Center. Brief writings, such
speeches, essays, etc. were also in this segment, but were separated to the short
works. A separation sheet within the first folder lists those works that were
||Many of the same correspondents are filed in more than one category. A list of
correspondents found throughout the archive is provided in this guide's Index
Correspondents; however, routine mail (e.g. regarding home repairs), form letters,
general fan mail,
or basic cover letters (e.g. enclosed is a copy of your contract) aren't included
||Letters from readers are arranged by decade, except for a small segment of letters
from McEwan's friends and acquaintances regarding specific novels which McEwan
separate. Many school-aged children wrote to McEwan regarding his children's book
The Daydreamer and there are two folders of such letters (many with drawings).
||Outgoing correspondence is a small segment of carbon letters, as well as hand-written
letters (presumably drafts or correspondence that was transmitted via fax) from
McEwan to others. Of primary interest are the twenty to thirty letters McEwan
to his parents between 1976 and 1978 at the beginning of his writing career, just
before and after his first book was published. In these letters, he details daily
life with his then-wife Penny, family matters, and provides writing updates. These
letters also cover his time teaching at the Iowa Writers' Workshop (in one letter,
he describes his first American Thanksgiving). Also within this file, are postcards
and photos from a 1986 visit to Singapore where McEwan appears to have visited
previous places where the family lived while stationed there.
||Several folders of correspondence arrived at the Ransom Center with evidence of mold.
The Center’s Conservation Department has vacuum treated material in these folders,
but mold spores may still be present. For health reasons, patrons may consider wearing
gloves and a dust/mist respirator while handling this material. The treated folders
follow the same organizational structure as the other correspondence, but are filed
in boxes 70, 73-76.
||Series III. Personal and Professional contains papers and documents related to
McEwan's childhood, family life, and writing career. Appointment diaries, awards,
contracts, family papers, notebooks, photographs, press clippings, printed material,
publicity, scrapbooks, travel files, and university and school papers are found
this series. The materials are in alphabetical order by name or topic.
||The appointment diaries span from 1974 to 2012 (excluding 1976) and list daily
jottings and appointments.
||Awards contains speech drafts, event programs, photographs, correspondence, and
clippings. McEwan's appearance to accept the Jerusalem Prize in 2011 sparked
controversy due Israel's role in the region's political unrest and included in
segment are notes and drafts of McEwan's acceptance speech as well as some of
press coverage of the event. Plaques and certificates were transferred to the
Center's Personal Effects Collection.
||Contracts contains some publishing, radio, television, and other contracts; however
the majority of McEwan's publishing contracts are filed in the corresponding year
with professional correspondence.
||The family papers includes material associated with the David and Rose McEwan and
Annalena McAfee families. Letters and items addressed to McEwan's wife, Annalena,
well as some German reviews of her first novel, The
Spoiler, are filed in box 47. Of particular interest is the typescript
of an oral history interview McEwan conducted with his father in 1989. In it,
McEwan warily answers questions about his childhood, serving in World War II,
military service, and meeting and marrying his wife Rose, all while carefully
avoiding intimate discussion of his feelings. McEwan refers to this interview
later writing about the discovery of his unknown brother, David Sharp. Also present
are some of David McEwan's military documents, his obituary, and a political essay
on multilateralism. Related to Rose McEwan are scrapbooks she compiled to document
Ian McEwan's writing career, condolence cards she received when her husband, David,
died as well as a program and documents related to her memorial service. Two
illustrated letters McEwan sent to each of his sons, Greg and Will McEwan, in
1990 while traveling overseas includes sketches of each person's placement on
Earth and an explanation of the different time zones.
||Forty-three notebooks of different sizes, roughly dating from 1970s to 2010, were
used for both writing and personal purposes. The journals are not arranged in
particular order. Titles, if present, are taken from the covers and provided in
single quotes; otherwise, they are listed based on their physical description.
of the journals contain notes and ideas for McEwan's novels and writings including
Saturday, Atonement, The Innocent, Solar, and On Chesil
Beach. Personal notes include travel diaries, jottings and ideas,
reminders and "to-do" notes, contacts, and notes from a metaphysical relationship
workshop. When subjects and writings could be identified, they are listed in the
container list. Most journals are undated and any dates provided in the container
list were found within the notebook and may not be complete or comprehensive.
||Photographs in the collection are black-and-white and color prints and include
publicity shots, informal snapshots, and family photographs. The photographs are
largely related to McEwan's private life with friends and family, but also many
related to his writing career and depict McEwan at home, receiving awards and
honorary degrees, and at book readings. Photos of particular interest are McEwan's
'childhood' photos in box 48.8 which depict McEwan and his family overseas; as
as 'friends and travel' photos in box 48.11 which include photos of McEwan in
late 1960s through 1970s. Some friends pictured with McEwan include Julian Barnes,
James Fenton and Darryl Pinckney, Jayne Anne Phillips, and traveling companions
accompanied McEwan to Afghanistan in the early 1970s. The segment of photos related
to McEwan's films include him onset with Campbell Scott, Isabella Rossellini,
Anthony Hopkins, John Schlesinger for The Innocent
and with Giovanni Ribisi, Jesse Peretz, and Robert John Burke onset of First Love, Last Rites.
||McEwan has been interested in political topics related to British politics, nuclear
war, the environment, censorship, and the role of writers in society since the
1980s. The political files contain printed material, meeting minutes, and similar
documents related to McEwan's involvement in political and social causes such
Charter 88 group and June 20 Group which were formed as a direct response to
Thatcherism in the 1980s and members included Harold Pinter, Antonia Fraser, and
other artists and intellectuals.
||There are ten boxes holding press clippings which document book reviews, best seller
lists, and profiles of McEwan published in British, American, Canadian, Australian,
and foreign language publications. For book reviews, the arrangement follows
McEwan's general arrangement, which is divided between English-speaking and
foreign-language press, and then within each of these categories, arranged by
title. Reviews of film and television work, as well as author profiles and
interviews contain primarily English-language clippings, but there is some foreign
press interfiled. Reviews of film and television are arranged alphabetically by
title and interviews and profiles are arranged by decade. Three folders contain
clippings on assorted topics, primarily science and philosophy, which McEwan
retained for research or reference. Many of these were sent to McEwan by his Dutch
publisher Jaco Groot.
||University papers arrived at the Ransom Center with evidence of mold. The Center's
Conservation Department vacuum treated material in these folders, but mold spores
may still be present. For health reasons, patrons may consider wearing gloves
dust/mist respirator while handling this material. The treated folders follow
same organizational structure as other materials in this series, but are filed
boxes 71, 77-78.
||Series IV. Works by Others is subdivided into two subseries: A. About McEwan and His
Works, 1988-2012, undated; and B. Other, 1976-2012, undated. Dissertations, theses,
and university papers written by students studying McEwan's writings form the
of the first subseries; some of these are in French or Italian. Also contained
this subseries are essay typescripts, drafts of interview typescripts containing
McEwan's edits (for inclusion by the interviewer), and other literary criticism.
Subseries B. Other contains articles, poems, chapter drafts, short stories, and
other works written by other writers and retained either for research or reference
or because they were written by friends, family, and/or associates of McEwan.
included are some adaptations of McEwan's works, such as Craig Raine's libretto
Atonement and an unauthorized musical adaptation
of a story from The Daydreamer. Other authors
represented include Christopher Hitchens, Harold Pinter, and McEwan's stepdaughter
Polly Tuckett. Of particular interest is the photocopy of a 1967 travel journal
penned by McEwan and Mark Wing-Davey (his best friend at Woolverstone Hall)
describing their hitchhiking trip to Athens.
||Series V. Serials and Publications consist of entire issues of periodicals and other
printed items containing works by McEwan, as well as interviews with and articles
about him. Issues are in alphabetical order by title and the significance of each
noted within parentheses.