Grace Notes, MacLaverty's most acclaimed book so far, was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize. The novel brings together many of his familiar themes, with the Troubles in the background. Grace, a young composer and single mother, is a lonely, vulnerable outsider who is estranged from her family and her lover.
The sheer readability of MacLaverty's work keeps it contemporary. This may give the impression that he's tremendously prolific. Although he not a slouch - with two screen plays, four television plays, six radio plays, four novels and four volumes of short stories to his name - he's no book-a-year writing machine.
So what next for Bernard MacLaverty? Well, at the age of sixty, he's just finished directing his first short film, based on a Seamus Heaney poem. He acknowledges that Northern Ireland will continue to be a source of inspiration for his work, because he's obsessed by the rhythms of our Northern Irish speech. MacLaverty believes they're like nowhere else - and that's what he tries to capture in his writing.