Seamus Heaney set for Magherafelt poetry festival

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney in Dublin.

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney in Dublin.

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WORLD renowned poet Seamus Heaney will return for a three-day poetry festival in Magherafelt in September.

Magherafelt Arts Society is one of two local organisations and 34 projects across Northern Ireland to receive a total of £277,775, from the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Culture for All Programme which will close for applications in August.

Magherafelt Arts Society has been awarded a grant of £10,000 for the On Home Ground Poetry Festival which will be held in the grounds of Laurel Villa, a local guesthouse.

Fiona Lynch, a director and secretary of the Arts Society, said Laurel Villa was a designated Poetry Society Landmark..

“Laurel Villa has been running poetry evenings for several years now and in 2009 Seamus Heaney came to give a poetry reading.

“It was a fantastic occasion.”

The Nobel Laureate, who was born three miles away at Mossbawn, will return to his ‘home ground’ to give the opening address at the festival which will run from September 20-22.

Other festival highlights include a reading by award-winning poet Michael Longley and broadcaster William Crawley in conversation with celebrated novelist and short story writer Bernard MacLaverty.

Former BBC Northern Ireland Controller Pat Loughrey will speak about Monaghan poet Patrick Kavanagh and Australian poet Bob Morrow will give the festival an international dimension with a reading from his work.

Three outstanding young Northern Ireland born poets, Colette Bryce, Sinéad Morrissey and Nick Laird will feature and Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales, will close the Festival.

During the course of the weekend there will also be an exhibition of paintings and drawings.

Culture for All is a small grants programme offering grants of up to £10,000 to communities across Northern Ireland that want to play a part in the UK City of Culture celebrations in 2013.

Community organisations can apply for funding up until the end of August to run arts and culture projects and activities that link in with the historic event, encourage talent and improve the lives of people in communities.