Seamus Heaney

Born Apr 13, 1939

Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born at Mossbawn farmhouse between Castledawson and Toomebridge, he now resides in Dublin. As well as the Nobel Prize in Literature, Heaney has received the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the E. M. Forster Award (1975), the PEN Translation Prize (1985), the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 and 1999).… Read More

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1939 Birth Heaney was born on 13 April 1939, at the family farmhouse called Mossbawn, between Castledawson and Toomebridge in Northern Ireland; he was the first of nine children.


1953 14 Years Old In 1953, his family moved to Bellaghy, a few miles away, which is now the family home. … Read More
1957 18 Years Old In 1957, Heaney travelled to Belfast to study English Language and Literature at Queen's University Belfast. … Read More


1961 - 1962 2 More Events
1963 24 Years Old In 1963, Heaney became a lecturer at St Joseph's, and in the spring of 1963, after contributing various articles to local magazines, he came to the attention of Philip Hobsbaum, then an English lecturer at Queen's University. … Read More
1965 26 Years Old In August 1965, he married Marie Devlin, a school teacher and native of Ardboe, County Tyrone. (Devlin is a writer and, in 1994, published Over Nine Waves, a collection of traditional Irish myths and legends.) Heaney's first book, Eleven Poems, was published in November 1965 for the Queen's University Festival.
1966 27 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1966, Faber and Faber published his first major volume, called Death of a Naturalist. … Read More


1969 30 Years Old In 1969, his second major volume, Door into the Dark, was published.
1971 32 Years Old 1 More Event
After a spell as guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, he returned to Queen's University in 1971.
1972 33 Years Old In 1972, Heaney left his lectureship at Belfast, moved to Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland, and began writing on a full-time basis. … Read More
1975 36 Years Old In 1975, Heaney published his fourth volume, North. … Read More
1976 37 Years Old He became Head of English at Carysfort College in Dublin in 1976, and the family moved to Sandymount in Dublin.


1979 40 Years Old His next volume, Field Work, was published in 1979. Selected Poems 1965-1975 and Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968–1978 were published in 1980.
When Aosdána, the national Irish Arts Council, was established in 1981, Heaney was among those elected into its first group (he was subsequently elected a Saoi, one of its five elders and its highest honour, in 1997).
1982 - 1985 2 More Events
1986 47 Years Old In 1986, Heaney received a Litt.D. from Bates College. … Read More
1988 49 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1988, a collection of his critical essays, The Government of the Tongue, was published. … Read More


1989 - 1990 2 More Events
1993 54 Years Old In 1993, Heaney guest-edited The Mays Anthology, a collection of new writing from students at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. … Read More
1995 56 Years Old Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 for what the Nobel committee described as "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past." … Read More
1996 57 Years Old 1 More Event
Heaney's 1996 collection The Spirit Level won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award; he repeated the success with Beowulf: A New Translation.


2000 - 2004 5 More Events
2006 67 Years Old 1 More Event
In August 2006, Heaney suffered a stroke. … Read More
2008 69 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2008, he became artist of honour in Østermarie, Denmark, and the Seamus Heaney Stræde (street) was named after him. … Read More
2009 70 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2009, Heaney was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature.
2010 71 Years Old 1 More Event
He spoke at the West Belfast Festival 2010 in celebration of his mentor, the poet and novelist Michael MacLaverty, who had helped Heaney to first publish his poetry.
2011 72 Years Old 1 More Event
Heaney was named one of "Britain's top 300 intellectuals" by The Observer in 2011, though the newspaper later published a correction acknowledging that "several individuals who would not claim to be British" had been featured, of which Heaney was one. … Read More
2012 73 Years Old In June 2012, Heaney accepted the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award and gave a speech in honour of the award.
He was scheduled to return to Dickinson again to receive the Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Award—for a major literary figure—at the time of his death in 2013; Irish poet Paul Muldoon was then named recipient of the award that year, partly in recognition of the close connection between the two poets.
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