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Villanova University Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Heimbold Chair with Readings by Award-Winning Irish Poets Seamus Heaney and Peter Fallon April 20

VILLANOVA, PA., April 14, 2010 – Villanova University’s Irish Studies Program is hosting a reading by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and celebrated poet Peter Fallon in honor of the 10th anniversary of the University’s Heimbold Chair. Heaney and Fallon were the inaugural speakers when the Chair was formally endowed in 2000. The reading will be held on April 20 at 7:00 pm in the Villanova Room at Connelly Center on main campus. Tickets are $5 and should be obtained in advance by calling the English Department at 610-519-4630.

“I’m especially pleased that both Peter Fallon and Seamus Heaney have agreed to a return visit,” said Dr. James Murphy, director of the Irish Studies Program. “That will mark nearly ten years to the day since their joint reading for an audience of over 500, an evening which remains one of the great highlights of years promoting Irish Studies at Villanova.”

Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. ’54, a former United States Ambassador to Sweden and chairman and chief executive with Bristol-Myers Squibb, established the Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Endowed Chair in Irish Studies in 1999. Since then, Ambassador Heimbold has continued to generously support the University and is currently Villanova’s largest individual donor.

The Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Endowed Chair in Irish Studies has become one of the most prestigious Irish Studies positions in the United States. Former holders of the Heimbold Chair include luminaries from the Irish arts including Nuala NiDhomhnaill, Eamon Greenan, Marina Carr, Vona Groarke, Conor O’Callaghan, Michael Coady, Sebastian Barry, Justin Quinn and Claire Keegan.

The Heimbold Chair teaches two undergraduate honors courses, one in Creative Writing and one in Irish Literature, allowing Irish Studies students to enjoy a rich, interactive classroom experience.

Seamus Heaney received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1995 for "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past." Heaney, a poet, essayist and translator, has championed artistic and educational causes, both in Ireland and abroad throughout his career. His work delves into the ongoing violence and repression in Northern Ireland, as well as the crucial role of the poet in society. Heaney is a member of Aosdana, the Irish academy of artists and writers, and a Foreign Member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Peter Fallon, also a member of Aosdana, was appointed Villanova’s inaugural Heimbold Chair in Irish Studies in 2000. Fallon has written numerous collections of poetry including News of the World: Selected and New Poems, which was recognized as one of Irish Times’ “Books of the Year” in 1998. He also founded The Gallery Press which has published more than four hundred books of poems and plays by Ireland’s finest established and emerging authors and which is recognized as the country’s pre-eminent literary publishing house.

The current Heimbold Chair, John McAuliffe, published his first collection of poems, A Better Life (Gallery), in 2002, which received a major bursary from the Irish Arts Council / An Comhairle Ealaion and was shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Award. His second collection Next Door was published in June 2007. McAuliffe has also been published in the TLS, Poetry Ireland Review, Metre, PN Review, Poetry London and Poetry Review.

For more information about the Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Endowed Chair in Irish Studies and Villanova’s Irish Studies Program, visit

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. A premier institution of higher education, Villanova provides a comprehensive education rooted in the liberal arts; a shared commitment to the Augustinian ideals of truth, unity and love; and a community dedicated to service to others. A wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered through the University’s four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Law. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.