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Thinking of Seamus Heaney as tenth anniversary of his death nears

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Nobel laurate Seamus Heaney’s final words to his wife were "Noli timere ... do not be afraid", sent in a text message from his hospital bed, his son, Michael, revealed at his funeral 10 years ago. Heaney’s death was an event that shook the poetry world to its core, with Maurice Riordan, the-then editor of Poetry Review, describing it as “the felling of a great oak”. On BBC Radio 4 on Monday 28 August at 10.45pm Bríd Brennan, Adrian Dunbar and Stephen Rea will give a new reading of Death of a Naturalist, Heaney’s debut poetry collection, and specially commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death.

The BBC launched four programmes on Seamus Heaney with Seamus Heaney - Poet of Place on Radio 4 on Sunday 20 August, followed by programmes looking at him as a love poet, and his view of the Troubles.   

Heaney was born near Toomebridge, Northern Ireland, but as a child moved to Bellaghy. He was awarded numerous prizes and received many honours for his work. Death of a Naturalist appeared in 1966, and won the Cholmondeley award, a Gregory award, the Somerset Maugham award and the Geoffrey Faber prize. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel prize in literature. His collection District and Circle was awarded the TS Eliot Prize in 2006. Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008. In 2009 he received the David Cohen Prize for Literature. Human Chain was awarded the 2010 Forward Prize for best collection.

A special programme of events to commemorate Heaney’s death on 30 August 2013 will be held on the weekend of 25-27 August at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland.

Paul Muldoon, Ireland’s Chair of Poetry, will open the weekend on Friday with a reading at 7.30pm. On Saturday evening musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire will perform at The Helicon and across Saturday and Sunday afternoon, 10 poets from across Ireland and the UK will read from their work and talk about the influence Heaney had on their work and poetry in general. The weekend will close with a screening of the acclaimed Arena documentary Seamus Heaney and the music of what happens, followed by a Q & A with the film’s producer Martin Rosenbaum and director Adam Low.

On Saturday there will be readings by Alice Lyons,  Niall Campbell, Emma Must, Martin Dyar, and Zaffar Kunial. Sunday’s poets will be Sarah Clancy, Nandi Jola, Rachel Coventry, Mark Pajak, and Owen Sheers. More details




Background: 'The felling of a great oak' 

Background: When Seamus Heaney met the Queen 






◄ We Wear the Crown: Lucy Heuschen, Hedgehog Press

Wunderkammer: Helen Ivory, MadHat Press ►

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