Building on a literary heritage at Queen’s that stretches back to the 1960s Belfast Group, we are part of a worldwide network of writers and critics, and support the development of creative and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Three Seamus Heaney Centre Fellows are selected each year from worlds of Poetry, Fiction, Music, Film & Television. They work with students and audiences to explore creative writing in all its forms. Each writer demonstrates excellence in their field, as well as an openness to learn from their engagement with students, and it is hoped that their time at the Centre will inform their future practice.
We also host a Visiting International Poetry Fellow, and a Children’s Writing Fellow as part of the Seamus Heaney Legacy fund, a ten-year joint project between Queen’s University Belfast and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
Children's Writing Fellows
Kelly McCaughrain (2019-21)
Kelly McCaughrain is a Young Adult writer from Belfast. She studied Creative Writing at Queen’s and mentors young writers at Fighting Words. Her first novel, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds, published by Walker Books, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and won the Children's Books Ireland Eilis Dillon Award, Children's Choice Award and Book of the Year Award 2019, and also won the Northern Ireland Book Award 2019.
Myra Zepf is the first ever Children's Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland. Her picture book Don't Go to School!, first published in Irish, was nominated for the Children's Book of the Year in Ireland. She has also written historical fiction – Tubaiste ar an Titanic and Lá Leis na Lochlannaigh. She was three times nominated for the Reics Carló Book of the Year Award.
SHC Fellows 2018/19
Iain Archer is a Grammy nominated musician from Bangor, who has written and produced for artists such as Snow Patrol, Jake Bugg, Liam Gallagher and James Bay. He has received two Ivor Novello Awards and a third nomination. As well as his critically acclaimed solo career, Iain is a member of the band Tired Pony.
Lucy Caldwell is a Belfast-born author of three novels, several stage plays and radio dramas, and a collection of short stories. She is the editor of the forthcoming anthology Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber, 2019). She has won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Irish Writers’ and Screenwriters’ Guild Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Award (Canada & Europe),and a Major Individual Artist Award from the ACNI.
Lisa McGee is a stage and screen writer. Born in Derry-Londonderry, she studied Drama at Queen's University Belfast. She was writer on attachment with the Royal National Theatre in London in 2006. Her plays include The Heights, Nineteen Ninety Two, and Girls and Dolls, for which she won the Stewart Parker Trust New Playwright Bursary 2007, and Jump, which has been adapted into a film. Lisa is the writer and creator behind the hit Channel 4 sitcom’s London Irish and Derry Girls.
Visiting International Poetry Fellows
Kathleen Jamie (2019)
Kathleen's poetry collections include The Overhaul, which won the Costa Poetry Prize, and The Tree House, which won the Forward prize. Her non-fiction includes the highly regarded books Findings and Sightlines, both regarded as important contributions to the 'new nature writing'. Her most recent poetry collection, The Bonniest Companie appeared in 2015, and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award.
Mark Doty (2018)
Mr Doty is best known for his powerful work written in response to the AIDS epidemic and his nine books of poems include My Alexandria, which won the US National Book Critics Circle Award and became the first book by an American poet to win the T. S. Eliot Prize in the UK in 1995. A former Guggenheim Fellow and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, he currently lives in New York City.
SHC Fellows 2017/18
Jo Baker, who is the author of six novels, most recently A Country Road, A Tree, said the Fellowship represents a kind of homecoming: “I’m a former student of Queen’s, and my time there, within the English Department, and as a member of the Writers’ Group, was absolutely transformative for me.
Doireann Ni Ghriofa
Doireann Ní Ghríofa, who writes in Irish and English and won the 2016 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, added she was excited at the prospect of spending time in Belfast: “I've been following the literary vibrancy of the city from afar for some time. I'm immensely grateful to be offered this opportunity.”
Duke Special’s latest release on CD and vinyl – Hallow – is based on the poetry of Michael Longley. Speaking about the appointment Peter Wilson, commented: “I am delighted and honoured to have been offered a Fellowship at the Seamus Heaney Centre. For the last decade, I have been exploring the places where art forms collide, between music, photography, theatre, fiction and poetry.”