The Annual Seamus Heaney Lecture 2021, organised by the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, in association with The Estate of Seamus Heaney, will be delivered by Professor Roy Foster, Emeritus Professor of Irish History, University of Oxford, and author of On Seamus Heaney (Princeton University Press). The evening will include readings of Seamus Heaney's poetry by award winning Irish actress Sinéad Cusack.
Seamus Heaney was born and raised in County Derry. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1966 and was followed by poetry, translations and criticism which established him as one of the leading poets of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”. Seamus Heaney died in 2013.
Professor R. F. (Roy) Foster was born in Waterford and educated in Ireland and the United States. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he subsequently became Professor of Modern British History at Birkbeck College, University of London and in 1991 the first Carroll Professor of Irish History at Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College. He retired in 2016 and is now Emeritus Professor of Irish History at Oxford and Emeritus Professor of Irish History and Literature at Queen Mary University of London. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1989, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1986, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1992, a Member of the Academia Europea in 2016, and has received honorary degrees from the University of Aberdeen, The Queen's University of Belfast, Trinity College, Dublin, the National University of Ireland, Queen’s University, Canada the University of Edinburgh and University College Dublin as well as Honorary Fellowships at Birkbeck College, University of London, the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland; he has recently received a Presidential Distinguished Service Award by the Irish Government for services to the Irish abroad. His books include Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and His Family (1976), Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life (1981), Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1988), The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland (1989), Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History (1993), The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland (2001), which won the 2003 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism, W.B. Yeats, A Life. I: The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914 (1997) which won the 1998 James Tait Black Prize for biography, and Volume II: The Arch-Poet, 1915-1939 (2003), Luck and the Irish: a brief history of change 1970-2000 (2007), Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances (2011), and Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation in Ireland 1890-1922 (2014), which was awarded a British Academy Medal for transforming the understanding of a subject area, and won the 2016 Frokosch Prize from the American Historical Association. His most recent work On Seamus Heaney (2020) is from Princeton University Press and has been widely critically acclaimed. He is also a well-known critic and broadcaster.
Sinéad Cusack is an award winning actress, renowned for her extensive career both on stage and screen. Cusack began her theatrical career at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company.