Support provides funding for annual lecture by prize recipient; the first will be delivered at NYU this fall.

Glucksman Ireland House at NYU Partners With Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University, Belfast, to Support Noted Poetry Prize

Glucksman Ireland House at New York University is proud to announce a new partnership with the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University, Belfast, to support for the next five years the Centre’s annual Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry. This support will consist of funding for the Thomas Quinlan Lecture in Poetry, with each recipient of the annual prize — awarded to the writer of the best first collection published in the UK or Ireland in the preceding year — to be invited to NYU to deliver the Quinlan lecture.

The Quinlan lectureship is named for Philadelphia educator Tom Quinlan, a life-long lover of poetry, who recently completed his 63rd year of teaching. Quinlan, 87, was educated in Philadelphia Catholic schools and is a 1949 graduate of La Salle University. He taught for 43 years in the Philadelphia public school system, predominantly at Abraham Lincoln High School. For the past 20 years, he has taught poetry to senior citizens in an adult education program at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

In his late 70’s, he made two month-long trips to central China as a volunteer teacher. He has attended the Yeats Summer School in Sligo, Rep. of Ireland, a total of 10 times, and had the pleasure of studying there with poets Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley, as well as Helen Vendler and many other Yeats scholars.

Quinlan is a third generation Irish-American. His paternal grandfather, Bartholomew Quinlan, was born in Co. Cork in 1864; his paternal grandmother, Cecilia Cox, was born on a farm outside of Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in 1862. In recent years, Quinlan was able to locate cousins and the farm, visiting both on several occasions with his son and grandson on his nearly annual visits to Sligo. Quinlan and his wife of 63 years, Virginia Clark Quinlan, have three children, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. They reside in Levittown, Pennsylvania. The lectureship was endowed as a gift from his family.

The Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry for 2012 will be £1,000 ($1,565). In addition, the winner will be invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University for the first annual Thomas Quinlan Lecture in Poetry, provided with travel, accommodation, and an honorarium. The first Quinlan Lecture is scheduled for Thursday, October 18, 2012.

This is the third annual Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry. The chairman of the judges this year is Frank Ormsby, poet and co-editor of the The Yellow Nib, the journal of the Seamus Heaney Centre. His fellow judges are Professor Ciaran Carson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, and Connie Voisine, poet and Fulbright Scholar at Queen’s University, Belfast.

For further information, please contact Anne Solari at Glucksman Ireland House NYU at anne.solari(at) or +1 (212) 998-3952; or Mrs. Gerry Hellawell at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University, Belfast, at g.hellawell(at) or +44(0)2890971070.


About Glucksman Ireland House:

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Glucksman Ireland House is New York University’s Center for Irish and Irish-American Studies and one of the top-ranked academic Irish Studies programs in the United States. Through innovative undergraduate and graduate academic curricula and extensive public programming, it provides access to the best in Irish and Irish-American culture.  With faculty in Irish and Irish-American literature, history, music, language, and cultural studies, Glucksman Ireland House NYU provides its students and the community with an integrated approach to understanding the arts and humanities that represent Ireland and Irish-America’s past, present, and future Visit for more information.

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337