Born in England in 1943, Ian Watson graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1963 with a first class Honours degree in English Literature, followed in 1965 by a research degree in English and French 19th Century literature. After lecturing in literature at universities in Tanzania and Tokyo, and in Futures Studies (including Science Fiction) in Birmingham, England, he became a full-time writer in 1976 following the success of his first novel, The Embedding (1973) which won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and in France the Prix Apollo, and The Jonah Kit (1975) which won the British Science Fiction Association Award and the Orbit Award.
Numerous novels of SF, Fantasy, and Horror followed, and almost a dozen story collections. His stories have been finalists for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and widely anthologised. From 1990 to 1991 he worked full-time with Stanley Kubrick on story development for the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, directed after Kubrick’s death by Steven Spielberg, for which Ian has screen credit for Screen Story, and which first screened in 2001, the same year that Ian´s artist wife Judy died. Their daughter Jessica, born in the same year as The Embedding, is a successful independent textile designer.
Previously Ian wrote a number of poems — such as whenever one of his characters was a poet and needed to demonstrate this! — but in the late 1990s he became much more prolific, poems sprouting like mushrooms although lasting a bit longer, one hopes. DNA Publications released his first book of poetry, The Lexicographer’s Love Song, in 2001. This includes his poem “True Love” which won the 2002 Rhysling Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. His story collection, The Great Escape (Golden Gryphon Press, 2002) was chosen by The Washington Post as one of the 8 best sf & fantasy books of the year. Golden Gryphon Press also released his novel, Mockymen, in Autumn 2003.
In 2001 Ian was a guest of the Semana Negra at Gijón in Spain, of the Aachen Poetenfest in Germany, of Science+Fiction, Festival Internazionale della Fantascienza in Trieste, and was Guest of Honour at the Polish National SF Convention in Katowice.
In 2003 Ian was a guest of the Science Fiction Foundation and the British SF Association at The Goldfish Factor in London. He appeared as himself and also as the “Ghost of Honour” of H.G.Wells during the Second International Week of Science & Science Fiction in Timisoara, Romania; was a guest at Hungarocon in Salgótarján, Hungary; visited the Madrid Book Fair to launch the Spanish edition of his novel The Fire Worm; was a guest at the Terni Film Festival in Italy; and he revisited Hungary as guest at ÁtjáróCon in Budapest.
In the early 2000s Ian founded the Northampton Science Fiction Writers Group, which organised several SF conventions called Newcon (because they were new) and led to the setting up by fellow member and author Ian Whates of independent NewCon Press, which subsequently published among much else the first English edition of Ian´s erotic satire Orgasmachine, as well as the 2012 story collection Saving For a Sunny Day and also The Beloved of My Beloved, transgressive tales written by Ian in collaboration with Italian surrealist Roberto Quaglia, perhaps the only full-length genre book co-authored by two European writers with different mother tongues, one of the stories from which won the British Science Fiction Association Award for best short fiction of 2009. Together with Roberto, during the 2000s Ian was in Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ukraine, conceiving Beloved stories.
For many years Ian lived in a tiny village in Northamptonshire, UK, but a return invitation to the Semana Negra in 2010 led to him relocating to Gijón in the north of Spain to live with translator Cristina Macía, whom he married in January 2013. Their first baby was published in December 2012 by big Círculo de Lectores, entitled 50 recetas con nombre, about meals named after famous people. Together they also founded the epublisher Palabaristas (“Word-Jugglers”) Press, which in November 2012 issued in 3 e-volumes The Waters of Destiny, an epic historical and modern thriller of medical terrorism written over the course of several years with Andy West (also a member of the Northamptonshire SF Writers Group).
The photo illustrating this page shows Ian not quite taking part in the East African Safari Rally passing through Dar es Salaam in about 1966.