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Seámus Heaney donates literary treasure trove to National Library

The Nobel laureate has given a lifetime of literary papers, including early drafts of poems, notebooks and corrections.

Seámus Heaney addressing guests at the National Library today
Seámus Heaney addressing guests at the National Library today
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

POET AND NOBEL laureate Seámus Heaney has donated a lifetime’s worth of literary papers to the National Library of Ireland.

Heaney visited the library today to officially hand over the work – described as “the working papers of Ireland’s greatest living writer” by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The collection will be eagerly awaited by literary scholars and others. Heaney is the second Irish Nobel prizewinner to donate his papers to the National Library, following in the footsteps of WB Yeats.

Welcoming the donation, Enda Kenny said the papers were a “fascinating literary archive”. He continued:

To Seamus Heaney and to Marie Heaney, and to their children Michael, Christopher and Catherine, I say thank you on behalf of the nation for ensuring that these wonderful papers become part of the national collection in the care of the National Library of Ireland.

Arts minister Jimmy Deenihan also hailed the poet’s generosity, and said it represented the close connection between writers and the National Library. “Dr Heaney himself, like many great Irish writers before him, has researched, worked and written in this very reading room,” he said.

The collection includes notebooks, early drafts of Heaney’s poetry, corrections and other pieces of writing, the Irish Times reports.

Here’s the man himself reading one of his classics in a collection of archive footage:

(Video: Pete Baker)

More: Seamus Heaney honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award>

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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