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Top poets gather to discuss international appointment

Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 9am 0 Comments Literature

Pictured are:  Noirin McKinney (Arts Council) and Fran Brearton (Queen’s University Belfast), with Leontia Flynn, Paula Meehan, Gerry Dawe, Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson and current Ireland Chair of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. Image: Pictured are: Noirin McKinney (Arts Council) and Fran Brearton (Queen’s University Belfast), with Leontia Flynn, Paula Meehan, Gerry Dawe, Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson and current Ireland Chair of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

Leading poets from across the island of Ireland were called together to discuss the appointment of an International Visiting Poetry Fellow, as part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s and Queen’s University Belfast’s joint ten-year Seamus Heaney Legacy project.

The bursary, awarded annually and worth £20,000, will be made to a distinguished poet of international repute, to travel to Northern Ireland where they will be based for several weeks in the autumn of each year.

The selection panel comprises poets Ciaran Carson, current Ireland Chair of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Gerald Dawe, Leontia Flynn, Michael Longley and Paula Meehan, plus Professor Fran Brearton, representing the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, and Nóirín McKinney from the Arts Council.

Key responsibilities for the nominated poet will be:

(i) To undertake the writing of poetry;
(ii) To offer guest workshops and masterclasses in Queen’s;
(iii) To give a public reading at the close of the residency;
(iv) To engage in outreach activity at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy (workshops/reading) for groups visiting the new facility

Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “We are honoured to be joined today by some of the most respected poets of several generations to begin the process of selecting an International Visiting Poetry Fellow. It is our hope that the first recipient will take up their post in Autumn 2018 and after that, an appointment will be made annually for five years.

“Today marks the first stage in an exciting process, one which we anticipate will benefit not only local writers and the academic community but the wider public, through workshops, readings and lectures.”

Today’s announcement follows the appointment of Myra Zepf as Children’s Writing Fellow last month. Both appointments form part of a wider project of work devised by Queen’s University of Belfast and the Arts Council in honour of Seamus Heaney and his contribution to literature.

Professor Fran Brearton, Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, commented: ‘The Visiting fellowship offers a rare opportunity over the next 5 years for students, writers, and poetry devotees in Ireland to work with poets of international reputation from across the world. We are delighted to see this next stage of the ACNI/QUB Heaney Legacy project now in development, and privileged to be able to work with six of Ireland’s most distinguished poets in taking this initiative forward.’

The appointment of the 2018 fellow will be announced by the end of this year.

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