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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 09:29 GMT
Poetry centre dedicated to Heaney
Seamus Heaney is a Queen's graduate
Seamus Heaney is a Queen's graduate
Queen's University in Belfast has honoured one of its most famous sons with the official opening of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.

It is hoped the 3m facility will attract writers from around the world and give a new and dynamic focus to the university's contribution to the arts.

Heaney graduated from Queen's with first-class honours in English language and literature in 1961 and lectured in the School of English from 1966 to 1972.

Three times winner of the Whitbread Award, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.

The centre is to be an international base for high-quality research and creative writing with a particular focus on poetry in modern Ireland.

Queen's vice-chancellor Professor Sir George Bain said the creation of the centre would underpin Queen's and Northern Ireland's reputation as a world literary force.

He said: "The Times Literary Supplement has said that poetry is now the activity for which the university is best known throughout the English-speaking world.

"This accolade owes much not only to Seamus's reputation but also to his work in fostering the dynamic literary activity that is characteristic of the university.

"The establishment of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry will ensure that the university fulfils its aim, and its obligation, to preserve and enhance its thriving creative and critical tradition."

Whitbread Award

Nobel laureate Heaney said he was honoured that the university had given his name to the new centre.

"The establishment of the centre is a recognition of the epoch-making achievements of the poets, critics and teachers associated with Queen's for the past half-century," he said.

"It represents a bold commitment, an act of faith in the imaginative and intellectual work that has brought repute and respect to the university, and is a proper extension of that work."

Other distinguished poets have emerged from Queen's, including Ciaran Carson, winner of the T S Eliot Prize in 1993, who is to become the new centre's director and Paul Muldoon, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

The centre hopes to establish an annual programme of lectures and seminars by poets and scholars and the promotion of links between the academic criticism of poetry and the writing of poetry.

It is also the custodian of a copy of the Seamus Heaney Media Archive.

Demolition of poet's home condemned
23 May 02  |  Northern Ireland
Heaney wins Whitbread book prize
25 Jan 00  |  Northern Ireland

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