Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Review: Literary heavyweight Bernard MacLaverty in fine form along with William Crawley

The On Home Ground Poetry Festival continued full throttle on Saturday evening with a special In Conversation event between broadcaster William Crawley and writer Bernard MacLaverty.

Once again, a sell-out crowd crammed into The Poetry Tent at Laurel Villa in Magherafelt to enjoy what was a very lively and humorous discussion between the two heavyweights.

MacLaverty was quick with a quip and an anecdote but was equally matched by Crawley, who said his subject was "a joy to interview" and that, unlike some, was a writer who actually talked as well as he wrote.

Recalling the first time he met Seamus Heaney, who later became a good friend, MacLaverty said it had been during his time in The Group at Queen's.

He gave Heaney a poem of his to read and was advised, in the nicest possible way, to "just stick with the stories".

MacLaverty, of course, did just this and said it had been wonderful to know there was someone like Seamus who wrote poetry so well. MacLaverty's short film of Heaney's poem Bye-Child was subsequently nominated for a BAFTA despite his "not knowing how to be a film director".

Having taken Heaney's advice not to pursue poetry, MacLaverty went on to write such critically acclaimed work as the novel Grace Notes.

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