Villanova University's College for Liberal Arts and Sciences in Pennsylvania will welcome scholars from the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University Belfast for a week in March.

Villanova's Center for Irish Studies, Department of English and Creative Writing Program will host the scholars from Monday, March 11 through Thursday, March 14, where the writers will engage with the community and participate in events "celebrating the university’s rich programming in Irish Studies, English and creative writing," according to a statement released by Villanova University.

Students will have the opportunity to engage with the scholars through class visits, workshops, and other events.

The visit coincides with an important week for the annual Villanova Literary Festival, the English major’s 75th anniversary celebration, and the 2024 Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Chair of Irish Studies Emilie Pine.

The Seamus Heaney Centre has previously hosted Villanova students and faculty as part of the English Department’s “Writing Through Conflict Course.”

Villanova’s reciprocal invitation to host scholars from the centre demonstrates the two institutions’ ongoing partnership and international collaboration.

The Seamus Heaney Centre scholars visiting Villanova University include:

  • Glenn Patterson has published twelve novels and five works of non-fiction. He co-wrote the feature film Good Vibrations (BBC Films), which he and his co-writer subsequently adapted for stage. Patterson was the 2016 Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University. He has been director of the Seamus Heaney Centre since 2017.
  • Bebe Ashley lives in County Down. Her work is recently published in Granta, The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review, and Modern Poetry in Translation. Her debut collection Gold Light Shining is published by Banshee Press and her second collection is forthcoming in 2025. In 2023, Ashley received the Ivan Juritz Prize for Creative Experiment (Text) and a Creative Practitioner Bursary from Belfast City Council. Her 3D-printed Braille poems will be featured in a six-month exhibition at the Museum of Literature Ireland from February 2024. Ashley is clerical officer at the Seamus Heaney Centre.
  • Mícheál McCann is a poet from Derry City. His poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Poetry Review, Queering the Green and elsewhere. He is the author of Safe Home (Green Bottle Press, 2020), Keeper (Fourteen Publishing, 2022) and Waking Light (Skein Press, 2022) alongside Kerri ní Dochartaigh. He is the co-editor of Hold Open the Door (UCD Press, 2020), Trumpet (Poetry Ireland, 2020), the founding editor of catflap, and will be the editor of Poetry Ireland Review in summer 2024. His first collection of poems, Devotion, is forthcoming with The Gallery Press in May 2024. McCann is the Seamus Heaney Centre Publishing Fellow for 2024. 
  • Dara McWade is a writer and workshop facilitator from Dublin, living in Belfast. He writes fiction and screenplays. His work can be found on BBC Radio Ulster, the Books Beyond Boundaries NI Anthology, and in the Apiary magazine, where he currently serves as editor-in-chief. He is the co-writer of the upcoming animated short “To Break a Circle,” and currently studies as a PhD candidate at Queen’s University Belfast.
  • Stephen Sexton’s first book, "If All the World and Love Were Young" was the winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He was awarded the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2020. He was the winner of the National Poetry Competition in 2016 and the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award in 2018. His second book, Cheryl’s Destinies, was published in 2021 and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Both collections are published by Wake Forest University Press in 2024. Dr. Sexton is a professor at Queen’s University Belfast.