1960, MacLaverty went to Queen's University - but not as a
student. His A-level results were disappointing, so worked
as a lab technician in the Anatomy department, preparing slide
samples of human and animal tissue for microscopic study.
But while he was working in the labs, MacLaverty was sharpening
his skills as a writer...
Encouraged by Professor Jack Prichard, head of the anatomy
dept, MacLaverty spent less time with cadavers and more time
with his developing body of work. And for the first time,
his short stories were published in the university magazines.
although MacLaverty was uncertain about his writing ability,
his work was beginning to attract the attention of others
- including Phillip Hobsbaum, a lecturer in English at Queens.
He ran a writer's course for some of his most promising students
and asked the young lab technician to join. In 1970, when
he was in his late twenties, MacLaverty finally hung up his
white coat and enrolled to study English literature in Queens.
He eventually qualified as a teacher.
In 1977, he published his first book of short stories - Secrets
and Other Stories - with the then fledgling local publishers,
Blackstaff Press. His childhood friend, Micky Burns, ran the
company for many years and Anne Tannahill, a university friend,
only recently retired as managing director. MacLaverty has
remained loyal to Blackstaff Press ever since.