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Queen’s academic awarded honorary CBE for services to Academia and the Arts

Edna Longley, Professor Emerita of English at Queen’s University Belfast, has been awarded an honorary CBE for work as a poetry critic, and her services to academia and the arts.

Professor Edna Longley CBE

The honour was announced as part of His Majesty The King’s honorary awards to foreign nationals in 2024.

Speaking about the award, Professor Longley said:

“My CBE is ‘honorary’, like all honours for non-UK citizens, because I was born in Dublin. I’m pleased to be receiving it at a moment when North-South relations may be in better shape, with the return of Stormont. But I mainly see the award as recognition of the value of poetry and poetry criticism, and as an accolade for the School of English and the Humanities in Queen’s.”

Professor Longley grew up in Dublin but has lived in Belfast since 1963. She taught for thirty-nine years in the School of English at Queen’s. She has been particularly engaged in the study of poetry; for which, as for the writing of poetry, Queen’s has become well-known since the 1960s. During the Troubles, Professor Longley was instrumental in bringing visiting writers to Queen’s, and she organised successful conferences on poetry, such as the Louis MacNeice centenary conference in 2007. Her research has also been concerned with cultural questions in Northern Ireland and with the literary aspect of Irish-Scottish studies.

She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the British Academy, and an international Honorary Member of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Longley has published monographs on Louis MacNeice, Edward Thomas and W. B. Yeats, and she has written extensively about poetry from Northern Ireland. Her essay collections include The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland (1994) and Poetry & Posterity (2000). She has edited The Bloodaxe Book of 20th Century Poetry from Britain and Ireland (2000) and Edward Thomas: The Annotated Collected Poems (2008). Her most recent publication is an edited volume of Edward Thomas’s Selected Writings on Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2023).

In 2021 thanks to the generosity of Mark Pigott, Queen’s announced the Michael Longley Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Longley Room was established in 21 University Square to celebrate the contribution made by Michael and Edna Longley, over half a century, to poetry.

Professor Longley recently appeared in ‘Where Poems Come From’: a BBC TV film about the poetry of her husband, Michael Longley.

For more information on the Michael Longley Endowed Scholarships, please visit:



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