Ian McEwan, whose eleventh novel, On Chesil Beach, is forthcoming from Nan A. Talese in June, recently agreed to return a handful of pebbles that he had unwittingly stolen from a protected beach in southwest England. McEwan admitted to taking the pebbles from Chesil Beach during a promotional interview for his new book. The beach, which is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, is protected; removing pebbles is illegal and can result in a fine.
McEwan, who won the Booker Prize for his novel Amsterdam (Nan A. Talese, 1999), said he was unaware of having committed a crime and agreed to give the pebbles to a film crew with whom he is working. They were scheduled to film on the beach yesterday.
A film version of the author's novel Atonement (Nan A. Talese, 2002), starring Keira Knightley, Vanessa Redgrave, and James McAvoy, is due in U.S. theaters at the end of the year.