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Distinguished Scholar in Anglophone Irish Writing

Fulbright – Queen’s University Belfast
Distinguished Scholar Award in Anglophone Irish Writing
Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry
School of English
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland

Background Information

In 2003 the long-distinguished School of English at Queen’s University Belfast established the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry as an international venue on the islands of Ireland and Britain for the promotion, practice and pedagogy of modern and contemporary poetry and allied creative writing practices.  The Centre functions as a strong engine for the development and dissemination of creative writing in the University, in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, as well as in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland .  The Centre not only carries the name of the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney, who was both a student and a lecturer in the School of English in the late 1950s through the early 1970s, but also acknowledges and emulates the ways in which Queen’s English helped shape and promote his career as a poet, teacher and perceptive critic of modern Irish writing. 

The Heaney Centre boasts an array of creative writing talent in poetry, prose, drama and screenplay-writing who have taught on the Centre’s and the School’s immensely successful MA in English (Creative Writing) since its inception in autumn 2000.  The Centre also now supports and promotes the School of English ’s longest standing taught postgraduate programme, the MA in English (Irish Writing). This MA programme draws students from across the globe and has been a focal point for the interaction of the local, the regional and the international not only in taught seminars and workshops but also in terms of awards, prizes and honours its students have won for their publications and for work-in-progress.  Such internationally well known critics and  scholars of modern Anglophone Irish literature as Professor Emerita Edna Longley, Professors Brian Caraher and Edward Larrissy, Drs Fran Brearton, David Dwan, Michael McAteer and the late Siobhan Kilfeather, among others, have been associated with the development of this programme in recent years.  Queen’s School of English has a long-standing reputation for fostering research and publication in modern and contemporary Irish poetry, poetics, fiction, prose and drama.  The Seamus Heaney Centre since 2003 nurtures strong collaboration between contemporary writers and researchers of modern and contemporary Irish writing in English.

Since October 2003 the Seamus Heaney Centre’s Director has been Ciaran Carson, a multi-award winning poet, translator and novelist; he has collected the T S Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize twice for Best Poetry Collection as well as the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize, among other honours.  He leads an impressive team of nine creative writers who now teach across the undergraduate and postgraduate spectrum and who, since 2006, have begun to supervise funded doctoral projects in creative writing. The Centre’s first two funded doctoral projects in criticism and creative writing completed their theses in 2008.  Both research students –the Gregory Award winning poet Eoghan Walls and the critic Ciaran O’Neill -- commenced research in 2004-05, were co-supervised by Ciaran Carson and Brian Caraher. The Seamus Heaney Centre has developed an impressive writing portfolio and teaching brief across all major areas of the practice, pedagogy and cutting-edge criticism of creative writing.

Details of the Award

The Fulbright Commission and Queen’s University Belfast seek to secure a half-yearly post, tenable January through June of each academic year, for a Distinguished Scholar in any field of the research and teaching of Anglophone Irish Writing or Modern Anglophone Irish Literature, from the 18th century through contemporary writing.  The post may be held jointly with or in addition to a sabbatical secured through a university in the United States of America .  The Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award in Anglophone Irish Writing is affiliated with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry and is held within the School of English at Queen’s University Belfast.

The Distinguished Scholar would be expected to assist in the teaching of one undergraduate module in modern Irish literature, either on the second or third year of the BA (Hons) in English programme, as well as conduct one postgraduate seminar in the field of the lecturer’s expertise and interest in Anglophone Irish Writing.  The Fulbright Distinguished Scholar would also be expected to offer research seminars on his or her published work and work in progress at events sponsored by the Heaney Centre and the School of English .  The post-holder would also avail herself or himself of the immense opportunities for discussion, interaction, collaboration and research that the six months in post at Queen’s University Belfast would provide.  Indeed, prospective annual Fulbright Distinguished Scholars in Anglophone Irish Writing would be expected to have built such opportunities for productive exchanges into the details of their applications.

This new scheme for a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award in Anglophone Irish Writing at Queen’s Belfast will commence in January 2011. Given the different structures of the academic year in the USA and in Northern Ireland and the location of the taught MA workshops any prospective Fulbright lecturer would be expected to take up, the Winter-Spring semester, January through June, of each year would is considered the optimal period of time for this half-yearly post.

Contact Details:

The contact person in the School of English , from whom applicants should request a letter of invitation, is:
Professor Brian Caraher
Chair of English Literature
Research Director, Modern Literary Studies
School of English
Queen’s University Belfast
Email: b.caraher@qub.ac.uk
Telephone: (44) (028) 9097 3316