Northern Ireland news

Celebration of the life and work of renowned poet Ciaran Carson held in Belfast

Glenn Patterson, writer an director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's, with a portrait of Belfast poet Ciaran Carson at the Lyric Theatre. Picture by Cliff Donaldson

A CELEBRATION of the life and work of renowned poet and novelist Ciaran Carson was held in Belfast last night.

The event at the Lyric Theatre paid tribute to Mr Carson, who died in October, aged 70.

Mr Carson was one of the 'Belfast Group' of poets in the 1960s, which included Séamus Heaney, Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon.

Born on the lower Falls Road in west Belfast, he grew up speaking Irish as his first language.

He published 15 volumes of poetry and wrote a number of books, with his awards including the TS Eliot Prize and Forward Prize.

He was the first director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University and had also worked for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland as a specialist in traditional music and culture.

The event last night was presented by Glenn Patterson, writer and director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB, and featured readings and reflections from Frank Ormsby, Sinéad Morrissey and Mr Longley.

There was also music from harpist Úna Monaghan and traditional Irish singer Len Graham.

Mr Patterson said: "Ciaran Carson was the first director of the Seamus Heaney Centre, a dear friend and colleague to all there, and an inspiration as a poet, writer, and as a citizen: a great European literary figure who lived his entire life in Belfast.

"This event has been an opportunity for the city of Belfast and for all who value literature on the island to recognise and to celebrate his work, his life, and his legacy."

Roisin McDonough from the Arts Council said Mr Carson's "writing is intimately connected to the streets and thoroughfares of his native city".

"It is fitting then that this gathering in the Lyric Theatre, one of the great arenas of our shared cultural life, has celebrated a life well lived and the legacy of first-class literature his genius left to the rest of us as citizens of the world," she said.

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