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Susan Browning
Manchester UK

I’m a student on a creative writing MA. I read Midwinter Break in one sitting, staying up
until nearly 3am to finish it. Your writing is beautiful, so poignant. I empathised with both
characters. This is the first book I’ve read of yours, so I’m thrilled to be able to read
more. Thank you

Sun, 25 Mar , 2018 Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

Good luck, Susan, with the MA. And good luck with my fiction from the past.
Patricia Watson
Providence, Rhode Island

I loved Midwinter Break. I read it in one
sitting. Thank you for such a lovely

Sun, 11 Mar , 2018 Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

Thank you for saying so


Leigh Hudgens
Cork Ireland

Hi Bernard. I am in a book club and have been assigned the task of doing a
presentation of your book Midwinter Break. I would appreciate any insight that you
feel would be of value for discussion. We have been meeting for over 40 years and
I am one of the newest members since I joined in 1982 when I moved to Ireland. I
enjoyed your character development and questioned who loved more Christian or
alcoholic. You raised many issues that I am sure will lead to a lively discussion.
Thank you for input you are willing to share.

Mon, 5 Feb , 2018 Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

Leigh Hudgens,

Thanks for your posting. I hesitate to launch into a rumination on my own novel in such a place. It is what it is. The characters are who they are. I wish you and your book club all the best with your discussion.

I liked Elizabeth Strouts observation in her novel My Name is Lucy Barton when she has her fictional writer, Sarah Payne, say that her job as a writer of fiction is to report on the human condition, to tell us who we are and what we think and what we do.

Janie Hampton
A loft in Cornwall

Mid winter break was a Christmas present from my husband of46 years( our marraige.
not his age). I don't think he realised what an apposite choice it was. When he's read it
too we will see who he identifies with most. I expect it'll be the wife. Which isn't fair
because i do too. Since Xmas day Ive been holed up in an onion loft with a snivelly
cold, just dozing and reading. At night the corrugated roof creaks and shivers in the
wind. To avoid my germs, Husband has retreated to the sofa downstairs with the dog
and it's farts. We'll probably survive another year. Thank you and Happy New year to

Thu, 28 Dec , 2017 Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

What a great comment - a short story in itself. The very thought of being aloft in Cornwall in such a situation. Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.Seeing it. Smelling it.

Amy Curran

Hi Bernard,
I am a fellow English teacher in
Glasgow and I'm teaching More Than
Just the Disease to my Nat 5 class this
year (because I studied it for Higher
myself and enjoyed it).

Could you direct me to a suitable link
for the movie for MTJTD? I have
Googled endlessly and cannot find a
single reference to this film.

Thanks in advance!

Tue, 5 Dec , 2017 Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

Dear Amy,

Thanks for teaching More than Just the Disease.
I wrote a TV play of the story but not wanting to use the word Disease in the title I called it 'Sometime in August'. It was produced by BBC Scotland in 1989. Hope this is of some help in tracking it down.
All the best to you.

Gary Deakin

I have a rather pedantic enquiry about the Anatomy School which I enjoyed very much.

There are topical references in Part 1 which clearly suggest that it you set it in Spring 1966. Part 2 seems to take place three years later (Kavanagh is in the third year of his medical studies - no gap years then!) . However you also refer to hundreds of people having died in the Troubles by this time . This doesn't fit with an early 1969 setting

Is this just artistic licence? Thank you

Thu, 28 Sep , 2017 Reply (Protected) Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

Moscow, Russia

Dear Bernard,
Thank you for your beautiful short stories. I am an amateur translator. Through your
agents I have sent you my Russian translation of My Dear Palestrina. I wonder if you
ever received it.
The next story I would like to translate is A Time to Dance.

Wed, 13 Sep , 2017 Reply (Protected) Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

Camille Kitchen
Netherlands, Burdaard

Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same topics you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

Thu, 31 Aug , 2017 Reply (Protected) Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)

Stephanie Head

Thanks for your response and memories of my mother and you are correct in everything. Lovely to hear your views on her.the friend was probably Margaret Brady or Zlata Williams. I have just finished your new book. Such a wonderful, poignant observation of a marriage, the wife's desire for something more and the close observation of a drinker. Trudy would have loved it!!

Tue, 29 Aug , 2017 Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)


I remember Zlata Williams also. Thanks for the favourable reaction to Midwinter Break.
All the best to you.

Cathy Gibbons
Pismo Beach, CA

Dear Mr. MacLaverty, I have just finished reading MIDWINTER BREAK and am
reminded of the words of Holden Caulfield who said he often wished he could
contact the writer when he had finished certain books. Alas, Holden had no
internet. I, however, wanted to say that I was taken by Gerry and Stella
immediately upon beginning my read, immediately ordering a copy of GRACE
NOTES.I am a 70 yr.old former high school English teacher. The language used,
and the characterization of those two,made me wish I could assign the book to my
advanced placement classes.
The depiction of their marriage is both humorous and poignant. Their willingness to
try to live with each other's quirks was realistic of the experience of a years-in
relationship, as we struggle to see with our early love eyes.
Thank you for the chance to meet these two and recognize a reflection of
Cathy Gibbons

Mon, 28 Aug , 2017 Modify (Protected) Remove (Protected)


Thank you for your kind and perceptive reaction to Midwinter Break. It is a great encouragement for a writer to know such things.