MacLaverty is the author of the novels Lamb (1980); Cal (1983); Grace Notes (1997); and The Anatomy School (2001), set in Belfast in the late 1960s. Both Lamb and Cal have been made into major films for which he wrote the screenplays, and he has written various versions of his fiction for radio, television and screen. Grace Notes was awarded the 1997 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award and shortlisted for many other major prizes, including the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread Novel Award.
His books of short stories are Secrets & Other Stories (1977); A Time to Dance & Other Stories (1982); The Great Profundo & Other Stories (1987); Walking the Dog & Other Stories (1994), Matters of Life & Death (2006) and most recently published his Collected Stories (2013). He has also written 2 books for young children: A Man in Search of a Pet (1978), which he also illustrated; and Andrew McAndrew (1988).
In 2003, he wrote and directed a short film, Bye-Child, after a poem by Seamus Heaney, which was nominated for a BAFTA (Best Short Film Award) and won a BAFTA Scotland (Best First Director Award).
MacLaverty’s work is in a line from Chekhov, via Frank O’Connor. He relates the kind of incidents you might hear from someone at a bus-stop or in bed: a house is burgled, a woman is raped, a neighbour’s bad parking is not what it seems. Whatever happens is both real and enriched by the telling of it, and MacLaverty makes this look like a natural and obvious thing to do. It is not, of course. Fans will recognise him in the details – the finer cuts of colloquial speech, his microscopic eye and an ear for noises off. All of this anchored in personality; the distinctiveness of people being one of his great delights. Anne Enright
Presented in association with the Centre for Irish Studies, St Mary’s University, Twickenham:
Bernard MacLaverty was born in Belfast in 1942, and moved to Scotland in 1975, where he lived in Edinburgh, on the Isle of Islay, and now in Glasgow. He has been a Medical Laboratory Technician, a mature student, a teacher of English and occasionally a Writer-in-Residence (Universities of Aberdeen, Augsburg, Liverpool John Moore’s and Iowa State). After living for a time in Edinburgh and the Isle of Islay he now lives in Glasgow. He is a member of Aosdana in Ireland.
Dr Richard Mills
Richard’s research interests are in Irish Literature and Popular Culture. Since 2002, he has been a lecturer in Irish Studies, Film, Popular Culture, English and Creative Writing at St Mary’s University. Mills’ recent publications include “‘That Orange and Green Dilemma’: Violence and the Traumatised Subject in Bernard MacLaverty’s Screenplays of Cal (1983) and Lamb (1985).” Bernard MacLaverty: New Critical Readings Richard Russell Rankin (ed.), (Bloomsbury: 2014). Forthcoming is ‘The Beatles Through Fans’ Eyes’, Understanding the Beatles Volume 2: Creativity, Reception, Interpretation, Marcus Collins and James McGrath (eds), (Equinox: 2016).