Michael MacLaverty

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Michael McLaverty (1904 – 1992) was an Irish writer of novels and short stories.

Background[edit]

Michael McLaverty was born in County Monaghan and then moved as a child to the Beechmount area of Belfast He attended St Gall's School and then went to St.Malachy`s College and became a school teacher. Michael McLaverty worked as a teacher, firstly at St. John's Primary School Colinward Street for many years. On marrying he moved to Deramore Drive in the Malone area of Belfast. Joe Graham in his book, Belfast Born Bred And Buttered speaks fondly of having been taught by Mr McLaverty both at St John's and St Thomas's schools. For a short period he lived on Rathlin Island, off the County Antrim coast, where he gained much of the inspiration for his short stories. In the 1950s-60s he was the principal of St. Thomas' Secondary School on the Whiterock Road in the upper Falls Road area of West Belfast. During his tenure there Seamus Heaney was one of his staff. Heaney recalls McLaverty's enthusiasm for teaching but also for literature. He introduced Heaney to the work of Patrick Kavanagh. Hillal suggests that McLaverty was like a foster father to the younger Belfast poet.[1]

Writing[edit]

McLaverty was one of Ireland's distinguished short story writers, painting with spare intensity the northern landscape of his homeland, the hill farms, rough island terrain and the backstreets of Belfast. He focuses on moments of passion, wonder or bitter disenchantment in lives of struggle. His collected works are illustrated with woodcuts by Barbara Childs, and including an introduction by Seamus Heaney and a foreword by Sophia Hillan,[2]

Heaney summarised McLaverty's contribution: "His voice was modestly pitched, he never sought the limelight, yet for all that, his place in our literature is secure." In the introduction to McLaverty's Collected Works, Heaney describes the writing: "His tact and pacing, in the individual sentence and the overall story, are beautiful: in his best work, the elegiac is bodied forth in perfectly pondered images and rhythms".[3] Heaney's poem Fosterage, in the sequence Singing School from North (1975) is dedicated to him.

Collected works[edit]

  • Call My Brother Back (1939)
  • Lost Fields (1941)
  • Collected Short Stories (1978)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sophia Hillan, New Hibernia Review / Iris Éireannach Nua, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Autumn, 2005), pp. 86-106 Wintered into Wisdom: Michael McLaverty, Seamus Heaney, and the Northern Word-Hoard. University of St. Thomas (Center for Irish Studies)
  2. ^ Amazon Review
  3. ^ McLaverty, Michael (2002) Collected short stories Blackstaff Press Ltd pxiii ISBN 0-85640-727-5