Singer Tim Wheeler and writers Wendy Erskine and Denise Riley appointed Seamus Heaney Fellows at Queen’s

Three top names from the artistic world have been annouced as the next Seamus Heaney Fellows at Queen’s University Belfast.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:51 pm
Writer Wendy Erskine

Wendy Erskine, Denise Riley and Tim Wheeler will officially take up their posts in the new year, working with students and contributing to the Seamus Heaney Centre’s activities within the University and the wider literary community.

A Belfast-based writer, Wendy Erskine’s debut short story collection, Sweet Home, was published by The Stinging Fly Press and Picador. It was shortlisted for The Republic of Consciousness Prize and The Edge Hill Prize and longlisted for The Gordon Burn Prize. It won the Butler Literary Prize and was optioned for TV. Her new collection, Dance Move, will be published in 2022 by Stinging Fly and Picador.

Wendy said: “One of the best things about being a writer is getting to collaborate with other people in interesting and unexpected ways. I know that being a Seamus Heaney Fellow alongside Denise and Tim will give me the opportunity to do just that, and so I am both excited and grateful.”

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Singer/songwriter Tim Wheeler

Tim Wheeler born in Downpatrick, is a singer, songwriter, and musician for the alternative rock band Ash. He has written nearly all of Ash’s notable works, such as ‘Oh Yeah’ and ‘Shining Light’. In November 2014, he released his debut solo album Lost Domain.

Tim said: “The first time poetry really resonated with me was when we studied Seamus Heaney’s poetry in school.

“I was lucky to have a great English teacher, the novelist David Park. He used poems like ‘Digging’ and ‘Mid-term Break’ to introduce us to the power of the written word. He also loaned me Undertones, Clash and Kinks albums and that was when I learned that songwriting could have links to poetry.”

Denise Riley lives in London. Her writing includes poetry, the history of ideas, and philosophy. Among her prose books are War in the Nursery: Theories of the Child and Mother [1983] and ‘Am I That Name?’ Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History [1988].

Denise Riley

She said: “I’m thrilled to have been fortunate enough to have been given this great opportunity to discover Belfast; I’m especially looking forward to working with the students in whatever ways might be of help to support their writing.”

Professor Glenn Patterson, director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s, said: “This new talented cohort of Fellows are as impressive as ever, and we at Queen’s, as well as the wider community, will benefit tremendously from their experience and globally recognised excellence as writers and musicians. I am very much looking forward to working with and learning from them.”