Seamus Justin Heaney, an overview of his life and accomplishments.

Essay by matilda April 2003

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Seamus Justin Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry in Northern Ireland. He grew up in the country, on a farm. He attended the local school and in 1951 went as a border to St Columb's College. In 1956 he went on a scholarship to Queen's University, Belfast and graduated with a first class degree in English Language and Literature in 1961. Seamus Heaney began to write in 1962, publishing first in Irish magazines. After a year as a postgraduate at a college of education, and a year teaching in a secondary modern school, he was appointed to the staff of St Joseph's College of Education. In 1966 Seamus Heaney took up a lecturing post in the English Department of Queen's University, and remained there until 1972, spending the academic year 1970-71 as a visiting Professor at the University of California. In 1972 Seamus Heaney stopped teaching in order to devote more time to his writing, and moved with his family to Glanmore, and later to Dublin.

For three years he made his living as a freelance writer, and doing occasional work for the BBC and for various journals. During this period he produced the poems collected in 'North'. In September 1975 he resumed his teaching, this time at Carysfort College. Seamus Heaney has won numerous awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award, the Denis Devlin Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the American Irish Foundation Literary Award and the WH Smith Annual Award. In 1987 he was awarded the Whitbread Poetry Award for the Haw Lantern. He was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in October 1995. In 1965 he married Marie Devlin and they have three children. He is currently the Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet-in-Residence at Harvard University where he goes to teach for six...