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Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney's first collection, Death of a Naturalist, was published forty years ago
In a HardTalk Extra interview screened on 5th May, Gavin Esler spoke to one of Ireland's most respected writers, the poet Seamus Heaney.

Ireland has one of the world's richest literary traditions and
today Seamus Heaney is considered its greatest living writer.

His international standing was confirmed just over a decade ago with the Nobel Prize for literature.

His work has been inspired by his deep love of Ireland and its rural life - but politics too has coloured his writing.

He tells Gavin Esler why, since the start of Ireland's Troubles, he has resisted taking sides and why he thinks poetry can still offer comfort and insight in a world blighted by violence and terrorism.

HARDtalk Extra can be seen on BBC World at 0330 GMT, 0830 GMT, 1530 GMT, 1830 GMT, 2330 GMT.

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 04:30 and 23:30.

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