Queen’s to name new £400,000 poetry scholarship in recognition of Michael Longley and wife Edna

The work of poet Michael Longley CBE and his wife Professor Emerita Edna is set to be recognised by Queen’s University Belfast through a new £400,000 scholarship.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 2:37 pm
Poet Michael Longley CBE, photo by Bobbie Hanvey

Their contribution will also be acknowledged through the creation of a new classroom at the university known as the Longley Room.

The move comes after a gift from US businessman Mark Pigott KBE, was matched by the university, to create the Michael Longley Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will fund two poetry scholarships each year.

Michael Longley said: “Poetry is my religion. It is how I make sense of life. For more than sixty years, it has been my soul-work. I am delighted that this endowment will give support to students taking the excellent MA in Poetry at Queen’s University. Since the 1960s, Queen’s has been a hub for the writing and criticism of poetry. I am proud to have my name on scholarships which will help to ensure the continuance of that tradition.”

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Professor Emerita Edna Longley added: “Michael and I, who have longstanding links with Queen’s, are humbled to be recognised by the establishment of the scholarships and the Longley Room. It is wonderful to know that each year, scholarships will be awarded to two deserving students of poetry. It’s also truly flattering that there will be a room on campus which carries our name.”

Each scholarship is valued at £7,500 and will be awarded to students studying on the MA in Poetry. The scholarships will be awarded beginning in the 2021/22 academic year.

One scholarship will be for a student from the island of Ireland with preference given to students from a ‘widening participation’ (disadvantaged or non-traditional) background. The second scholarship will be for a student from the UK or EU, with preference given to students from Great Britain.

Professor Ian Greer, president and vice-chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast commented: “Queen’s University is delighted with this generous gift from Mark Pigott KBE, which will further enhance the University’s rich literary tradition and acknowledge the incredible poetic talent of Belfast poet and Honorary Queen’s graduate Michael Longley CBE, and Edna Longley, poetry critic, lecturer and Professor of English at the University, and now an esteemed Professor Emerita and Honorary grad