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Seamus Heaney Book Club

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Get digging into the work and legacy of the beloved poet Seamus Heaney in our summer National Poetry Library Book Club. Celebrate the life and work of the Nobel Prize for Literature winner in what would have been his 80th year.

Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013) would have turned 80 in April of this year. We gather to discuss his work and legacy, from his earliest collection, Death of Naturalist (Faber, 1966) through to his Forward Prize-winning final collection, Human Chain (Faber, 2010).

We consider his work as a translator as well, including the Whitbread Prize-winning Beowulf (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000), which was considered groundbreaking in its application of modern language to Anglo-Saxon rhythms. Known for his rare appeal to both critics and the public, Heaney was greatly mourned upon his death in 2013 at the age of 74.

Heaney is bound up in the history of the National Poetry Library; when we moved to our new home at Southbank Centre in 1988, he led the cake-cutting ceremony to mark the library’s reopening. In 2012, he performed at Southbank Centre as part of the Cultural Olympiad, representing Ireland, and added his signature to our World Record desk.

Come and raise a glass to a much-loved, much-missed poet and Irish icon.


Earlier Event: May 30
Nicola Upson: Stanley and Elise
Later Event: June 3
Robert Chandler: Stalingrad