Winner Announced

Supported by Glucksman Ireland House, 
New York University

The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast, is delighted to announce the winner of the fourth Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry.

The Prize is awarded annually to the writer of the best first collection published in the UK or Ireland in the preceding year and is awarded with support from Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. Glucksman Ireland House, the Center for Irish and Irish-American Studies at NYU supports the award through generous funding in honour of Thomas Quinlan, a third generation Irish-American teacher and educator.

The prize was awarded at the Student Reading of the Poetry Summer School which took place Thursday, 26 June.  

The winner of this year’s Prize is 
Tara Bergin
for her book
This is Yarrow 
(Carcanet Press).

The Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry for 2014 was a cheque for £1,000. In addition the winner is invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University for the third annual Tom Quinlan Lecture in Poetry, provided with travel, accommodation, and an honorarium.   The lecture takes place in the autumn 2014.

The Chairman of the judges this year was Professor Ciaran Carson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.    His fellow judges were Professor Paul Farley from the University of Lancaster and Professor Paula Meehan, the current incumbent of the Ireland Chair of Poetry.

The judges said of the competition, “It was a year when there were outstanding entries for this prize, powerful collections that made the judges' decision very difficult. It was an especially strong year for storytellers: the narrative impulse was the central energy in many of the collections. Through all the sifting, calibrating and circling round it was Tara Bergin's book This is Yarrow that held us in thrall. The poems are suffused with the sense of the poet moving way outside the known or knowing world to bring back strange and urgent news; poetry that once we hear it, we wonder how we ever did without it.” 

The Seamus Heaney Centre Prize was inaugurated to celebrate the work of the Heaney Centre, and to honour its founding poet.  The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry is a focal point for creativity in Ireland and is recognised as an international centre of creative and research excellence in the field of literature. Central to the Centre’s ethos is the encouragement of emerging talent.

Mrs Gerry Hellawell, email:, tel: +44 (0)2890971070.

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Prize Shortlist Announced

The judges of the competition, Professors Ciaran Carson, Paul Farley and Paula Meehan, said, "This year's Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for a First Collection of Poems attracted a large number of powerful and accomplished submissions."  The shortlist has been announced as (in alphabetical order) Tara Bergin, This is Yarrow (Carcanet Press),  Malika Booker, Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press),  Paula Cunningham, Heimlich's Manoeuvre (smith/doorstop),  Hannah Lowe, Chick (Bloodaxe Books),  Rory Waterman, Tonight the Summer's Over (Carcanet Press).  View full press release here.

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Tinderbox - Fireworks Programme for Young Writers

Out of seven writers selected for Tinderbox's prestigious Fireworks programme for young writers here, three are current Creative Writing students in the Seamus Heaney Centre, School of English.

They are Terry McCartan (MA in Scriptwriting), Shannen O'Doherty and Kathryn Jenkins (the latter two Yr 2 going into Yr 3 English with Creative Writing).

Tinderbox is Northern Ireland's pre-eminent new-writing theatre company and this is a great first step for them toward becoming a professional writer.   Congratulations to all.

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After the Lockout by Darran McCann shortlisted


A “strong and diverse” shortlist for the Goldsboro Books and Historical Writers Association debut historical fiction prize 2013 has been revealed.

Judges have already predicted a hard-fought contest between titles to claim the final prize, with Goldsboro Books owner David Headley saying “picking a winner will be immensely hard and is, in many ways, invidious; any one of these novels could win”.

The shortlist is: After the Lockout, Darren McCann (Fourth Estate) Park Lane, by Frances Osborne (Virago) The Lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan (Virago), The English Monster, by Lloyd Shepherd (Simon & Schuster) and The Light Between Oceans, by ML Stedman (Black Swan).

The prize covers books published between 1st October 2011 and 30th September 2012.

The winner will be announced at a History in the Court event at Goldsboro Books in Cecil Court, London, on 26th September, and the Historical Writers Association will also announce the first recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award at the same time.

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Mural of Heaney's Last Words

A mural of Seamus Heaney's last words has appeared in Dubin. As Heaney's son explained at the funeral; "His last few words in a text message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away were in his beloved Latin and they read – noli timere." A Dublin artist going by the name Maser painted the translated message on a gable end in Dublin's Richmond Street.

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