The work of Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney will inspire generations of future writers at a new $6.2 million landmark venue.
The new Queen’s University project will create a Visiting International Seamus Heaney Chair in Creative Writing, alongside engagement programs with educational and community groups in Belfast and across Northern Ireland.
The Seamus Heaney Centre, which will open early next year, will feature an exhibition of archive material, a library, teaching rooms, workstations for students, a ‘scriptorium’ and performance spaces.
The late poet’s daughter, Catherine Heaney, said: “The Seamus Heaney Centre is really important to me and my family because it’s about education. Queen’s is where my late father started writing poetry, where he studied, and started his career as a lecturer and an educator.
“It’s very much part of his writing past and the amazing thing about the centre is that it’s carrying that into the future.”
The Centre’s director, Professor Glenn Patterson, said: “In this new shared space we will create a space that looks out, speaks out, and writes out confidently into the world. It will be a centre with Heaney at its heart, a centre where writing lives.”
The university has worked with philanthropic donors, including U.S. supporters, to establish the new centre.
The first Seamus Heaney Centre opened 20 years ago with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies, and Helen Carrick, Assistant Director (Philanthropy) at Queen’s, said it is fitting that philanthropy would remain key to the new, ambitious facility.
“To date, thanks to several generous donors, including the Irish American Partnership, the Ireland Funds America and the Scott Griffin Foundation, an impressive $1.3m has been raised for this project,” she said.
“We aim to at least double this figure to support the vision of the Seamus Heaney Centre including establishing an academic chair and expanding on the Centre’s outreach activity with schools and local communities. If you would like to help write the next chapter of this Centre, please get in touch.”
The Nobel prize-winning poet was a visiting Professor at Harvard, where he later became the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, and then the Ralph Emerson Poet-in-Residence.
For more information, visit the Seamus Heaney Centre. ♦