Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in a farm called Mossbawn, about 30 mile from Belfast in Northern Ireland. He was the eldest in a catholic family of nine children. Both his father and grandfather were farmers, and he was expected to follow in their footsteps, but he did so well at school that he received a schoolarship for his education. He graduated from Queen’s University in Belfast, and he worked there for a few years as a lecturer in English. He began to write while he was still a student, publishing work in the university magazines,and he soon joined a group of young poets who held regular meetings and discuss one another’s work.
In 1966 his collection of poems called Death of Naturalist came out and was a great success. In the next few years Heaney wrote articles and book reviews, and in 1969 published his second collection, Door into the Dark.
Among his most important collections are Station Island (1984), The Haw Lantern (1987), Seeing Things (1991), The spirit level (1996), and Electirc light (2001). Heaney is also the author of a much admired translation of the epic Beowulf (1999).
Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. This confirmed his position as Ireland’s leading poet over the last fifty years. He is considered one of the best English-language poets today.