born April 13, 1939 in Mossbawn, County Derry, is an Irish poet, essayist and translator, laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He made his début with the book Death of a Naturalist (1966), highly acclaimed by the critics. Following its success, Heaney was offered the post of lecturer at the Queen’s University, Belfast. His next books of poetry, Door into the Dark (1969) and Wintering Out (1972), also won great critical and popular acclaim. Heaney spent the academic year 1970-1971 as visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Upon his return, he resigned from his post in Belfast and settled in Glanmore near Dublin. Several year later he moved to Dublin, resuming work in the academy. Since 1979 he was regularly invited to Harvard University, where he received tenure as Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory in 1984. For many years since then he divided his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Dublin and, since 1989, also Oxford, where he was elected Professor of Poetry. Since 1997 he visited Harvard every other year as the Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence.
Heaney’s other collections of poems include North (1975), Field Work (1979), Station Island (1984), The Haw Lantern (1987), Seeing Things (1991), The Spirit Level (1996; Polish edition Ciągnąc dalej, 1996), The Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996 (1998) and Electric Light (2001; Polish edition Światło elektryczne, 2003). His eleventh book of poems, District and Circle (2006), was honoured with the T.S. Eliot Prize. Dennis O’Driscoll’s extensive, book-length interview with Heaney, Stepping Stones, was published in 2008. Heaney’s selected poems in Polish include 44 wiersze (44 Poems, 1994), Kolejowe dzieci (The Railway Children, 1998) and the most recent and comprehensive volume in the author’s own selection, Przejrzysta pogoda. Wiersze wybrane (2009).
Essays form an important part of Heaney’s oeuvre, particularly the collections Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978 (1980), The Government of the Tongue (1988) and The Redress of Poetry (1995). A selection from the three volumes was published in Polish as Zawierzyć poezji (1996). Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001 (2002) was translated into Polish in 2003 as Znalezione–przywłaszczone. Eseje wybrane 1971-2001.
Together with Stanisław Barańczak, Heaney translated Treny by Jan Kochanowski (Laments, 1995). His translation of Beowulf, honoured with the prestigious Whitbread Book of the Year Award, ranked as a bestseller for many years.
Heaney’s other honors include the Somerset Maugham Award (1967), the Cholmondeley Award (1968), the Bennett Award (1982) and the David Cohen Prize (2009). Heaney is a member of Aosdána, an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Irish Academy and the Polish Academy of Learning, and a non-resident member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He holds honorary doctorates from Trinity College, Dublin, Oxford University, Harvard and Princeton, and the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
He lives with his wife (also a writer) in Dublin.