Ian McEwan: ‘I despise lying, ideological Brexiters’

The Booker-winning author on Angela Merkel, tennis and his tribute to The Go-Between

Born in Hampshire, Ian McEwan, 70, took a creative writing MA at the University of East Anglia. In 1976, his first collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham award; his first novel, The Cement Garden, was published two years later. He won the Booker prize in 1998 with Amsterdam. His novels Atonement and On Chesil Beach are both films, and The Children Act is in cinemas on 24 August.

When were you happiest?
In my mid- to late-20s, in London, beginning to publish, living hand to mouth, having fun. Also now, when love and life and work have finally cohered.

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Julia Donaldson: ‘If I have an idea for a new book, I slave for hours’

The Gruffalo author on her creative and domestic routine – and how she gets to sleep at the end of it

I sleep for eight hours; I go to bed between 10.30pm and midnight, and read modern fiction by writers like Sarah Waters. I don’t have to turn off my mobile phone, as I don’t have one. I go to the loo often and when I get back to bed, I do an alphabet of flowers or mythical creatures in my head. I’m usually asleep by the time I get to the letter I. If I feel worried, I count my blessings: I let anyone I love or like drift into my head – an old schoolteacher, my husband Malcolm, my mother, someone in the fish shop.

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