Seamus Heaney Center ready for new home in Belfast as university unveils plans

Belfast’s literary community will benefit from a new home for the Seamus Heaney Center at Queen’s, with the university unveiling plans to move the center from its current location to a new purpose-built site on University Road.

lance have just been approved for the move, with the center hoping to complete the move to honor the tenth anniversary of the Bellaghy-born poet’s death and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the center’s founding, both arriving in 2023.

The move recognizes and celebrates Seamus Heaney’s legacy in Queen’s and enhances the center’s important and distinctive place next to Seamus Heaney’s estate, the Seamus Heaney HomePlace and the Heaney Archives at the National Library of Ireland.

Plans to expand the Seamus Heaney Center’s facilities and influence have been described by the center’s director, Professor Glenn Patterson, as “a huge step for Queen’s University and literary Belfast”.

In the redevelopment of the Seamus Heaney Center it will move into a Victorian Grade II listed building which, when completed, will contain an exhibition space, an extensive digital archive of Seamus Heaney’s television and radio appearances and social spaces combined with nooks and booths to read and write.

The center will be a platform to celebrate and showcase local talent to the world and act as a magnet for international writers, scholars and visitors, bringing the world to Belfast and promoting the reputation of both the city and Ireland as a global literary power. strengthen.

Director, Glenn Patterson, said the Seamus Heaney Center has grown in strength since it opened in 2003 with ten academic staff members.

“As well as teaching, we also run masterclasses, workshops, public events, a summer school of poetry, all from two small terraced houses on University Road in Belfast,” he said.

“Now, in time for our 20th anniversary, we are preparing to move into a new landmark building with potential for future growth, beginning with the appointment of a distinguished international guest chair for writing.

“This new building will be a huge step for the Seamus Heaney Centre, the university and literary Belfast, providing an exhibition space, a venue for lectures and lectures and an abundance of space for students to sit and start making the words that will shape how we understand ourselves and our world in 10, 20, 50 years.”

In addition to meeting the needs of the growing number of students studying at the center – the number is expected to double by 2026 – it will also deliver a program of outreach and engagement activities for the wider community, with workshops, performances and creative writing weeks.

Professor Patterson said that as a result of these outreach projects, the Seamus Heaney center “will be more than ever a link between the past and the future, between the city and Queen’s University, between writing here and elsewhere.”

“The Seamus Heaney Center is all about becoming, bringing about new ways of thinking and seeing, new writers and scientists giving those new ways a voice and personality.”

“A center with Heaney at its heart – a center where writing is alive.”

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