Nobel Winning Poet to Receive Stellfox Award

Matthew Korb '14, Editor-in-Chief

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Seamus Heaney during a visit to Dickinson College in 1993.











After a nearly yearlong search process, a committee of English professors has announced that poet and playwright Seamus Heaney will be the 2013 Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Prize recipient.

The announcement was made on Thursday, May 9 in a campus-wide e-mail from Dean Neil Weissman.

Born in 1939, Heaney is an Irish poet, playwright and classical scholar. He is best known for his collections of short poetry and his contemporary English translation of the classical poem “Beowulf.” Heaney currently has twenty published collections of poetry and prose and has received nearly twenty major international awards during his forty year career, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.

“[His works have] earned Heaney status as the most popular English-speaking poet since Robert Frost,” said Weissman in his email.

The Stellfox Award’s recipients are selected based on their chosen field of literature. Since the previous two recipients were a writer and a playwright, this year’s Stellfox winner was selected from a list of contemporary poets.

“[The Stellfox Committee] discussed who we might like to invite, based upon the Stellfox criteria, and we all agreed that Heaney was an excellent choice,” explained Associate English Professor Carol Ann Johnston, a member of the committee as well as a former student of the poet.

The Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program award is given every year in memory of alumna Ethel Stellfox ’60 to an influential fiction writer, poet or playwright. Past recipients have included Pulitzer Prize winners Edward Albee, Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and notable poet Maxine Kumin.

Heaney will be in residency at the college from March 31 to April 2, 2014. During his stay he will attend classes and lunches with students and faculty. Before the end of his residency, Heaney will hold an open question and answer session as well as meet with students and give a reading from one of his selected works.

For more information on Heaney’s visit, contact Johnston at [email protected]