The Annual Seamus Heaney Lecture 2022, organised by the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, in association with The Estate of Seamus Heaney, will be delivered by Philippe Sands KC, Professor of Law at University College London and Samuel and Judith Pisar Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, President of English PEN and author of The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile, Justice and Britain’s Colonial Legacy.
The lecture will tell the story of Chagos, drawn from The Last Colony. Colonialism, exile, justice, law, wrapped around a personal story.
The evening will open with the reading of Seamus Heaney poems by Irish actress Justine Mitchell and will conclude with a book signing, during which refreshments will be served.
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.
Philippe Sands KC is Professor of Law at University College London and Samuel and Judith Pisar Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is a practising barrister at 11KBW chambers and appears as counsel before the International Court of Justice and other international courts and tribunals. He sits as an arbitrator in international investment disputes and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He is author of Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008) and numerous academic books on international law, and has contributed to the New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, the Financial Times, The Guardian and the New York Times.
His most recent books are East West Street: On the Origins of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide (2016) (awarded the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize, the 2017 British Book Awards Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and the 2018 Prix Montaigne) and The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive (2020), also available as BBC and France Culture podcasts. His latest book is The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile, Justice and Britain’s Colonial Legacy (2022).
Philippe is President of English PEN and a member of the Board of the Hay Festival of Arts and Literature.