Happy Birthday, Bernard MacLaverty, born 14 September 1942
- Writing is a very lonely occupation.
- I have a great fondness for short stories. But I would hope that I take as much care in writing a novel as I would in writing a short story. People often say that in short stories every word has to count, but I would say the same for novels.
- It’s the pleasures of telling a story, that’s what keeps me going.
- People had always told me that I needed to have a novel for my first book, but I’d all these stories that I’d been writing until we left Belfast. So I thought I’d send them to a Belfast publisher, and when they were accepted by Blackstaff I was delighted. But I also panicked and immediately began to rewrite them all. It’s one thing for a publisher to like them, but the thought that other people would actually read them was terrifying.
- The short story is not a pint at the bar – it’s having a dram of an evening to yourself.
- But anger is one of the things that makes you write. If you fume at people killing other people you eventually ask what is it, within your compass, that you can do. For me, the best I could do was write.
- If you build enough dry-stone dykes, eventually you get better at it. That doesn’t seem to be the case with writing. You might get better at assembling sentences, but you still seem to have to start again with everything else.
- Writers, somehow or other, are people who have not lost the ability to play.
- Work with no result is something in a writer’s life that’s very galling.
Bernard MacLaverty is an Irish writer. He is the author of the novels Lamb, Cal Grace Notes, and The Anatomy School. Lamb and Cal have been made into major films for which he wrote the screenplays. He has won many major awards. He has also written five collections of short stories.
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