Irish Writers: Bernard MacLaverty

Irish Writers: Bernard MacLaverty

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Atlantic Avenue, Belfast




April 1993


19min 10sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Channel 4, Department for Communities, Flying Fox Films, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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Channel 4, Flying Fox Films

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Profile of the renowned Irish writer.

Bernard MacLaverty discusses the life experiences and cultural touchstones that were pivotal in his development as a writer. He shares his thoughts on the writing experience and quotes from his own fictional works. 

Beginning with his thoughts on what he would do if he "was back in a classroom again", MacLaverty speaks about how he would want pupils to write their own screen plays and give them a video camera to bring it to life. The attractive quality of screenplays for pupils is that they wouldn't have to get troubled up in grammar or syntax, but simply write what they imagine. 

His success, really began with his first published works 'Secrets and Other Stories', which MacLaverty sent to black staff press with an expectation that they would be rejected as he had not yet published a novel.  However, Jim Gracy called him and told him it had been accepted, which caused panic as he realised he had sent some work he himself didn't like.  

With award winning films such as Lamb (1985) and Cal (1984), under his belt, it's hard to believe that he too was once just a boy with a passion. MacLaverty, chats about how when he was a boy, he lived off the Antrim Road, with various generations of family under one roof and other family members living along the same street. It was due to his 'normality' that he never believed he could actually be a writer, imagining one had to have had distress in their life. 


Bernard MacLaverty was born in Belfast, 1942 and attended St Malachy's College before going to Queen's University as a mature student.

His book, Lamb, was adpated for the screen and starred Liam Neeson and Hugh O'Connor with Van Morrison composing the soundtrack. A screenplay was written for Cal, a year after it was published with Helen Mirron and John Lynch starring. His novel Grace Notes, was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize.


Produced by Ulster Television and Flying Fox Films for Channel Four Schools.

Producers: Catherine Gifford and Neil Martin

Director: David Hammond

Editor: Maurice Healy 




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