Saturday, 28 January 2023 Contact us

Seamus Heaney: a tribute

A fondly remembered visit to Oxford

SEAMUS HEANEY (1939-2013)

Seamus HeaneyIt is only 6 months since the greatest Irish poet since Yeats and a towering figure in international literature stepped on to Oxford’s Sheldonian stage to deliver the Chancellor’s lecture. There followed just more than an hour of soft and moving readings and a conversation with his friend, the writer Kevin Crossley-Holland, where we, the audience, were invited to eavesdrop and share his thoughts and experiences, a rare privilege. Afterwards, he looked up at the never-ending queue awaiting his signature on their volume of poetry and said: ‘It’ll take an hour but I must sign them all, they may have come some distance.’

Those of us who spent time with him during that day were with a man you felt you already knew, so warmly familiar yet also delightfully courteous and charming was his demeanour. To think his last line is written is a cruel blow to all of us who love literature but that he came our way once will always be a treasured memory.

And so by night and day to be transported
Through galleried earth. with them, the only relict
Of all that I belonged to, hurtled forward,
Reflecting in a window-mirror backed
By blasting weeping rock-walls

                                Flicker-lit.
from District and Circle


Graham Benson
Deputy Chairman
The Oxford Literary Festival

The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Royal Academy of Arts Project People Institute of Hospitality Foodbuy Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme TORVA Books which change you, your mind, your world Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Compassion in World Farming Pasture to Plate Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Critchleys Accountants to the festival CAV Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ox in a Box OX magazine Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland The Nwelue Trust Abibiman Publishing Flip through Flanders

2023

2022

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Royal Academy of Arts Project People Institute of Hospitality Foodbuy Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme TORVA Books which change you, your mind, your world Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Compassion in World Farming Pasture to Plate Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Critchleys Accountants to the festival CAV Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ox in a Box OX magazine Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland The Nwelue Trust Abibiman Publishing Flip through Flanders