International Author Discovers Brother
International author, Ian McEwan, had the surprise of his life last week, when he discovered he had a brother he never knew existed.
Dave Sharp, an Oxford brick-layer, had been spending his spare time tracing his family history when he made the startling discovery. Adopted when he was younger, he found out he had been given away by his mother, Rose McEwan nee Wort.
Rose became pregnant after a wartime affair with, David McEwan, but wanted to give the child away before her partner returned from overseas. Rose put an advertisement in the local paper and her baby was handed over to Rose and Percy Sharp at Reading railway station in Berkshire.
Unfortunately Rose's partner was killed in action, so she married David McEwan, who then went on to father Ian six years after Mr Sharp was born. Ironically both men grew up without knowing of the other's existence, and for 20 years the two men lived just 15 miles from one another.
Mr Sharp, now 64, went on to work in the building industry in south-east corner England.
Mr McEwan, 58, attended a private school, then a university and later achieved international acclaim for novels such as Atonement, The Cement Garden and Enduring Love. He was also awarded the CBE.
With the help of the Salvation Army's Family Tracing Service, Mr Sharp first traced Mrs McEwan's children with her first husband. This then led him to be able to track down his brother Ian. Mrs McEwan died in 2003.
Of their first meeting, Mr Sharp recalls that he had "no idea" of his brother's fame until autograph hunters interrupted them in the pub.
He said: "I had never heard of him. Of course, I've read all of his books now, but whether he's a road-sweeper or an author is immaterial. He's just my brother to me."
Mr Sharp has now turned author himself, and is writing a book, Complete Surrender, about his experiences, aided by ghost-writer John Parker.