Josephine Hart Poetry Hour: A Tribute to Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney
Book now
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:
  • From £3.25 – £14 Concessions available

An anniversary event on National Poetry Day, with Bríd Brennan, Catherine Heaney and Ruth Negga.

This event takes place in the British Library and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. His poetry, criticism and translations established him as the leading poet of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for ‘works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past’.

The Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation is honoured to pay tribute to Seamus Heaney - acclaimed poet, playwright, translator, Nobel Laureate, Oxford and Harvard academic and educator - to mark the tenth anniversary of his death in 2013. His daughter Catherine Heaney will open the evening with a few personal words about her father.

Celebrated actors from The Poetry Hour Rep will then read from a newly curated Hour, amongst them multi-award-winning actress Ruth Negga. Ruth played Antigone in the Irish premiere of Seamus Heaney’s The Burial at Thebes at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in 2004. Her recent credits include Lady Macbeth opposite Daniel Craig in Macbeth on Broadway, films Passing and Loving, and TV drama series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Preacher.

We are thrilled that Bríd Brennan is also joining us. Bríd is a Tony and IFTA award-winning actress, with multiple Olivier Award nominations. She has worked to great acclaim on Broadway, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Lyric, Belfast, the National Theatre, London and the RSC. Amongst her best known films are Brooklyn and Dancing at Lughnasa.

As a friend and supporter of Josephine Hart’s poetry mission, Seamus Heaney read at her ‘T.S. Eliot Poetry Hour’ a number of times. Most movingly, he read from the poems of W.B. Yeats, with novelist Edna O’Brien, actress Fiona Shaw and Prof Roy Foster, at the Embassy of Ireland’s memorial for Josephine in 2012. It feels apposite for us to pay homage to him now.

Casting and curation by Shevaun Wilder.

Presented by The Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation in partnership with the British Library, The Estate of Seamus Heaney, and National Poetry Day 2023. All extracts from the works of Seamus Heaney are © the Estate of Seamus Heaney. Reused with the permission of Faber & Faber Ltd.

Half price tickets available for British Library Members, students, under 26s and other concession groups.

Doors and Bar open at 18:00.

Image ©️Bobbie Hanvey

The Poetry Hour was founded by novelist and poetry anthologist Josephine Hart. Launched as The Gallery Poets in Mayfair in the mid-1980s, it later became The Poetry Hour and won fame for bringing classic ‘great poetry read aloud by great actors’ to a wide audience. The British Library has supported Josephine Hart’s mission from 2004 and continues to do so in her memory on a regular basis.

National Poetry Day Logo        The Poetry Hour Logo


Half price tickets available for British Library Members, students, under 26s and other concession groups.

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. 

The British Library is a charity. Your support helps us open up a world of knowledge and inspiration for everyone. Donate today.


Name: Josephine Hart Poetry Hour: A Tribute to Seamus Heaney
Where: Pigott Theatre
The Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: From £3.25 – £14
Concessions available
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.