||The Ian McEwan papers consist of drafts (typescripts, printouts, electronic files)
published and unpublished works, personal and professional correspondence,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.
papers are organized into five series: I. Works, 1969-2013, undated; II.
Correspondence, 1968-2014, undated; III. Personal and Professional, 1930s-2014
1974-2013); IV. Works by Others, 1976-2012, undated; and V. Serials and
||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
||Additionally, one computer hard drive containing document files, email
correspondence, and photographs, as well as twelve computer disks are included
the material. Many of McEwan's writings (including novels, screenplays, essays,
lectures, as well as unidentified documents), outgoing correspondence, photographs,
and personal and professional documents exist as electronic files and are available
to researchers. Two access copies are available. One reflects the original directory
structure and contains all files, including duplicates. The other access copy
arranged by the Ransom Center and reflects the arrangement as listed in the
container list and includes a brief description, the number of files, the file
formats, and the year timestamp. These dates do not necessarily reflect when the
file was created or last saved. A number of these files exist in more than one
iteration, may have multiple file names, exist in more than one file format, and/or
exist in multiple subdirectories. The email correspondence has not been processed
and is not available to researchers at this time.
||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. If an individual work has
corresponding electronic files, an entry for the files is included within the
material associated with that 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 for 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
- 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,
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 are present. For films in which
wasn't the author of the screenplay, McEwan often made script notes and in the
of Atonement and Enduring
Love served as executive and associate producer (respectively). A small
amount of production and publicity material for the films Atonement, Enduring Love, and The Ploughman's Lunch are filed after the script drafts.
For supplementary material related to McEwan's films and adaptations, see the
Professional Correspondence subseries and in the Personal and 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.
||Several folders of personal 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.
treated folders follow the same organizational structure as the other personal
correspondence, but are filed in box 70. Some folders of correspondence are still
being treated and will be added to the collection once all treatment has been
||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 Son.
||'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
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 in the other
professional correspondence, but this was maintained in its original segment and
arranged chronologically by the Ransom Center. Brief writings, such as speeches,
essays, etc. were also in this segment, but were separated to the short works.
separation sheet within the first folder lists those works that were moved.
||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,
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 consists of a small segment of carbon letters, as well as
hand-written letters (presumably drafts or correspondence that was transmitted
fax), and electronic files from McEwan to others. Of primary interest are the
to thirty letters McEwan wrote to his parents between 1976 and 1978 at the beginning
of his writing career, just before and after his first book was published. In
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
McEwan appears to have visited previous places where the family lived while
||Series III. Personal and Professional contains papers, documents and electronic files
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
found in 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, color prints, and digital images
and include publicity shots, informal snapshots, travel, and family photographs.
photographs are largely related to McEwan's private life with friends and family,
but also many are related to his writing career and depict McEwan at home, receiving
awards and honorary degrees, and at book readings. The digital images are organized
into folders representing years 2004 through 2014 and mostly capture McEwan
traveling with his wife Annalena, his sons, and close friends, as well as family
photos taken at home. Photos of particular interest are McEwan's 'childhood' photos
in box 48.8 which depict McEwan and his family overseas; as well as 'friends and
travel' photos in box 48.11 which include photos of McEwan in the late 1960s through
1970s. Some friends pictured with McEwan include Julian Barnes, James Fenton and
Darryl Pinckney, Jayne Anne Phillips, and traveling companions who 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
box 71. Some documents are still being treated and will be added to the collection
once all treatment has been completed.
||Series IV. Works by Others is subdivided into two subseries and contains printouts
and electronic files: A. About McEwan and His Works, 1988-2012, undated; and B.
Other, 1976-2012, undated. Dissertations, theses, and university papers written
students studying McEwan's writings form the bulk of the first subseries; some
these are in French or Italian. Also contained in 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
other writers and retained either for research or reference or because they were
written by friends, family, and/or associates of McEwan. Also 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.
particular interest is the photocopy of a 1967 travel journal penned by McEwan
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.