15 Feb 2021
The arts and literary centre dedicated to the late great Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney is planning a new season of inspiring ‘in conversation’ events for literature lovers worldwide.
‘For air and friendly talk’ will be a collection of pre-recorded virtual events published over a six-week schedule, starting on 22 February.
Featuring writers in conversation, including Pulitzer Prize winners and three Booker longlisted authors, it takes its inspiration from the poem ‘Twice Shy’ where Seamus Heaney recalls a riverside walk with his wife Marie in the early stages of their courtship.
Tracy K Smith, the United States’ Poet Laureate from 2017 – 2019, will open the new virtual programme. Taught by Seamus Heaney at Harvard, the Pulitzer prize-winner is the author of four acclaimed collections. She will be discussing her work with Daljit Nagra, poet in residence at BBC Radio 4, in the first of six online events.
Some of Ireland’s foremost novelists, including Colum McCann, Donal Ryan and Kevin Barry along with writer Cathy Rentzenbrink and another Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon will also be in conversation as the programme rolls through until April.
Leading the discussions will be the journalist and writer John Self, writer Jan Carson, broadcaster John Kelly, Emma Warnock and Paula Shields.
Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Derry~Londonderry
The latest programme from the award-winning Seamus Heaney HomePlace follows the literary centre’s successful virtual event, A Nobel Celebration – ‘more spacewalk than stepping stone’ last December, which assembled actors, authors and an ambassador for a one-off programme of performances to mark the 25th anniversary the poet being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The award confirmed the revered poet, who died in 2013, as one of the greatest of the twentieth century. A firm favourite of poetry fans, celebrities and academics worldwide, US President Joe Biden has quoted Heaney repeatedly, including in some of his most important speeches over the course of his long political career.
Heaney’s much-loved ‘HomePlace’ is located in Bellaghy, County Londonderry, where he grew up and where he wrote much about. Exploring the life, literature and inspirations of the Nobel prize-winner, it draws literature lovers from all over the world.
Its two floors are peppered with the literary giant’s books and personal belongings, a recreation of his attic study from the time he lived in Dublin, as well as video recordings from friends, neighbours and cultural leaders, and the voice of the poet himself reading his own work.
The important arts and literary centre has built a reputation for staging artistic events of the highest quality, and undeterred by the pandemic is now creating innovative, entertaining online experiences to be enjoyed by a global audience.
Tickets for ‘For air and friendly talk’ are now available now from the Seamus Heaney HomePlace website. Single tickets can be purchased for each event at individual prices, or all six in the series can be purchased at a specially discounted price. Each event will be available for a limited time only.
Artifacts at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Derry~Londonderry
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