The School of English at Queen's has one of the most esteemed creative writing heritages of any English department in Britain and Ireland. Internationally renowned for hosting the 'Belfast Group', a collective of writers which included poets Seamus Heaney, Ciaran Carson, Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon, as well as playwright Stuart Parker and novelist Bernard MacLaverty, the School has refused to rest on its creative laurels. The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry is one of the leading centres for creative writing in these islands, with a staff comprised of leading poets, screenwriters, and novelists. Multi-award winning poet and translator Ciaran Carson, director of the Centre, teaches alongside Forward Prize and T. S. Eliot Prize nominated, and National Poetry Competition winning poet Sinead Morrissey; Forward Prize winning poet Leontia Flynn, Betty Trask award-winning novelist Glenn Patterson; critically acclaimed novelists Garrett Carr and Darran McCann, and Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter Tim Loane, among others. The student-led English Society has hosted writers and critics from all over the world and regularly publishes students' writing in progress. Students coming to English at Queen's at any stage of their higher education enter a dynamic and lively culture of critical and creative activity.
The Heaney Centre is a dynamic and vibrant focal point in Ireland for the writing, criticism and appreciation of modern literature. It is a recognised international centre of research excellence in the field, and is distinguished not merely by its critical activity, but also by its promotion of creative writing as a living art. Central to the Centre's ethos is the lively exchange between poets, critics and students, between critical and creative traditions. It works to ensure the continuance of the rich tradition Seamus Heaney did so much to develop in his years as a student and lecturer at Queen's, a tradition which emphasises poetry's communal presence and international profile. The Centre welcomes writers and students to participate in its research programmes and literary events, and is the site of engagement between poets, academics, research students, creative writing students, and visitors from outside Ireland, many of whom are welcome as associates of the centre. Its director is the internationally renowned poet, Professor Ciaran Carson; its assistant director is the poetry critic Dr Fran Brearton.