Philip Larkin on reading his poetry to audiences: ‘I don’t want to go around pretending to be me.’ Photograph: Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

‘For poetry readings, the general rule is that if the poet is outnumbered it is a success.” This remark by the poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch infor(...)

‘To Flannery O’Connor, faith was fragile and thinking you had lost your faith was “an experience that in the long run belongs to faith”.’ Photograph:  APIC/Getty Images

The American novelist and short-story writer Flannery O’Connor died 50 years ago on August 3rd. A significant voice in US fiction, she is also highly (...)

Gerald Dawe: ‘Do it because you want to and not for any other reason, and stick at it no matter what.’  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

What was the first book to make an impression on you? Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence. What was your favourite book as a child? Treasure Island(...)

Michael Harding at Lough Allen, Co Leitrim. Photograph: Brian Farrell

I was in a cheap cafe one morning recently, eating eggs and sausages, when a text surfaced on my phone saying that an old friend had died. All around (...)

Seamus Heaney did not confine himself to poetry. A respected critic, he also was a distinguished academic and his translations from Greek, Latin, Italian, Irish and Anglo-Saxon reflect the extent of his learning. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Born: April 13th, 1939; Died: August 30th, 2013The Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, who has died aged 74, was described by Robert Lowell as “the most imp(...)

Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney who died today aged 74. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the death of Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney today has brought a “great sorrow to Ireland” and only the poet himself could (...)

Arguably the finest work by the great Italian innovator Luigi Pirandello is his absurdist satire Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921). It is v(...)