(b. 1948) English novelist
novelist and short‐story writer, born in Aldershot, educated at the University of Sussex and the University of East Anglia. He displayed his gift for the macabre in his first short‐story collections, First Love, Last Rites (1975, Somerset Maugham Award) and In Between the Sheets (1977). His first novel, The Cement Garden (1978), a Gothic story about an orphaned family of children, was followed by The Comfort of Strangers, a tale of sexual menace, set in Venice (1981, adapted for the cinema by Pinter). The Child in Time (1987) concerns the emotional consequences for a couple whose baby daughter is abducted. The Innocent (1990) is based on the true story of the Berlin Tunnel. Black Dogs (1992) is a powerful parable of evil about an English couple on honeymoon in France. Enduring Love (1997) opens with a bravura account of a fatal helium balloon accident, and traces its effects on surviving witnesses. Amsterdam won the 1998 Booker Prize. Atonement (2001) covers a historical time span, from 1935 to 1990, and centres on the Second World War, whereas Saturday (2005) concentrates on the events of a single day in London in 2003. He has also written scripts for film (The Ploughman's Lunch, 1983) and television (The Imitation Game, 1981), and the libretto for Michael Berkeley's anti‐nuclear oratorio, Or Shall We Die? (1982).