THE first anniversary of the death of Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney will be marked by a festival of poetry, writing and culture in his home area. 'Celebrating Seamus Heaney on Home Ground' will run from September 11 to 14 in Magherafelt, south Derry. Heaney, pictured, died on August 30 last year.
News of the festival coincides with the announcement that an interpretative centre based on Heaney's work is to be built in his native Bellaghy. Planning permission for the centre on the site of the former Bellaghy police station was given the go-ahead earlier this week. Hosted by BBC arts presenter, Marie-Louise Muir, next month's festival will include poetry readings, films, children's workshops and tours of the countryside which inspired much of the poet's work.
Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) spokeswoman, Ruth Burns said the festival, at Laurel Villa in Magherafelt, would celebrate Heaney's life and times and bring "a unique and inspiring collection of writers, poets, artists and friends of the author together to celebrate his writing in his homeland of Magherafelt". The festival will feature more than 40 events and is expected to bring a host of well-known names to the area.
Among the highlights will be the launch of 'Once upon a Place' by laureate na nOg (youth laureate) and bestselling children and teens author Eoin Colfer, as well as 'Earth to Alice,' stand-up poetry by Alice McCullough. n Full details are available at www. onhomegroundfestival.com.