Development & Alumni Relations Office 


30 October 2019

The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast hosted a showcase event to celebrate fifteen years of the Centre and to introduce new writers and initiatives.

Part of a week-long visit to New York by staff of the Seamus Heaney Centre, the showcase reception took place on Monday 28 October at the Lotte New York Palace, and was hosted by the President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Ian Greer.

Speakers included Professor Glenn Patterson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s; Colin Davidson, artist and Honorary Graduate of Queen’s; Dr Leontia Flynn, poet and writer; award-winning poet Dr Stephen Sexton; Professor Nick Laird, poet, novelist and screenwriter; and Erin Lynn, a New York-based poet, teacher and Queen’s graduate (MA English, 2011).

Attended by graduates and friends of the University, living in or close to the New York area, the evening was supported by staff in the Development and Alumni Relations Office at Queen’s.

Throughout the evening, which started at 6pm and attracted over 130 people, guests enjoyed a series of diverse readings from Centre staff and were entertained with live traditional music. The Vice-Chancellor also announced the three new Seamus Heaney Fellows – author Anna Burns, Trinidadian Scottish writer Vahni Capildeo, and screenwriter Jed Mercurio – to the delight of the US audience.

Speaking about the occasion, which has been described by one individual as among the ‘best alumni and engagement events ever’, Ian Moore, Head of Alumni and Supporter Engagement, said: “What a marvellous opportunity for Queen’s to showcase the Seamus Heaney Centre and all that is best in poetry and writing.

“It was also a wonderful occasion for our alumni and supporters to catch up with Queen’s, enjoy readings from some of our leading staff from the Centre, meet old friends and celebrate the life of the University’s most famous son, Seamus Heaney.” 

An international centre of excellence, the Seamus Heaney Centre is rooted in the community and is a focal point for creativity in the field of literature. Attached to the School of Arts, English and Languages at Queen’s, it brings together the traditions of poetry, writing and criticism, and has been part of the literary fabric of Belfast since 2004. 

For the last 60 years, Queen’s has been known for creative writing in all its forms on the island of Ireland, is a globally-recognised venue for literary events and research and a centre for a generation of new writers.

The Centre is named in honour of Queen’s English Language and Literature graduate, former member of University staff and Honorary Graduate Seamus Heaney, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, and who published his first volume of work Death of a Naturalist (1966) while at the University.

Media enquiries to Zara McBrearty at Queen's Communications Office on telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 3259.

Pictured (L-R) are: Professor Glenn Patterson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's; Dr Stephen Sexton, Poet and Lecturer at the Seamus Heaney Centre; Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast; Erin Lynn, Queen's Graduate from the USA; and Professor Nick Laird, Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre.


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