Seamus Heaney wins Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement
Seamus Heaney, one of the world's best-known poets and translators, has been named the winner of the 2004 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. The announcement was made by David Lynn, editor of the Review and professor of English, on behalf of the journal's board of trustees.
"Seamus Heaney's voice is grounded in the particular-in the rich soil of his Irish boyhood, in the songs and memories of Irish history," said Lynn. "But he also bears witness to the violence and hatred that wreaked such havoc on his homeland. A poet of gentle music and stunning beauty, a poet with courage enough to face darker human truths, Seamus Heaney speaks to the larger world in the tradition of Yeats and Auden."
Heaney is famed for poetry that melds the personal with the social, joining a particular place and moment to the longer sweep of history. Among his most notable translations is Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, published in 2000 and praised in the New York Times Book Review as "a faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right." Heaney is also noted as a prose stylist, with several collections of essays to his credit. A native of Northern Ireland who now makes his home in the Irish Republic, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
This is the third year that the Kenyon Review has presented the award, which honors writers for a lifetime of achievement. The first award was presented to E.L. Doctorow, the second to Joyce Carol Oates. Both are eminent fiction writers.
The award will be presented to Heaney at a gala dinner on Tuesday, November 9, at Restaurant Daniel in New York City. Numerous members of the literary community and other luminaries are expected to be on hand, including Doctorow and Oates. Proceeds from the dinner, and from its accompanying live and silent auctions, will benefit the Kenyon Review's endowment.
This year's event, which is being presented by Citigroup Private Bank and MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings, is also supported in part by Bloomberg, UBS, and the law firms of Kramer, Levin, Naftalis, and Frankel LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP. Barry Schwartz '70 is serving as honorary chair of the dinner.