McEwan: An inspiration, yes. Did I copy from another author? No

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Ian McEwan, one of the most revered authors of his generation, has hit back at accusations that he copied another writer’s work — the second time the novelist has had to face such claims.

Sections of the novel Atonement, which is being turned into a film starring Keira Knightley, are said to be similar to parts of a wartime memoir by Lucilla Andrews, a bestselling author of romantic fiction. Ms Andrews is mentioned briefly in the acknowledgements of Atonement, and McEwan says that he has paid tribute to her in interviews and public appearances.

But for some of those closest to Ms Andrews, who died last month aged 86, it is not enough. In particular her agent has attacked McEwan’s “disappointing” failure to reveal the scale of his debt to her client.

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