Seamus Heaney exhibition opens in Dublin

A sneak preview of Saturday’s books pages

CEO of Bank of Ireland Francesca McDonagh, Sabina Higgins, President Michael D Higgins and Sandra Collins, director of the National Library at the opening of the NLI’s major exhibition Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again at the newly created Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre at College Green, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney / Collins

This week’s big Irish literary news is the opening of a major long-running exhibition, Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again, in the former Irish parliament building, now part of Bank of Ireland, opposite Trinity College Dublin.

Based on the poet’s bequest to the National Library, the exhibition includes manuscripts, letters, unpublished works, diaries, photographs and personal items, including the desk where he wrote in the family home in Sandymount, a lamp that belonged to WB Yeats and a portrait by Louis le Brocquy. Curated by Prof Geraldine Higgins, it skilfully threads together Heaney’s life – Bellaghy, his family, events in the wider world such as the Troubles – and his poetry. It opens to the public tomorrow and is free. Usually no ticket is required, but time slots should be booked for the opening weekend on

This Saturday’s books pages feature an illustrated essay by David Park on a photographic exhibition by Sonya Whitefield responding to his novel, Travelling in a Strange Land. Ciarán McMenamin, actor, author of Skintown and Fermanagh fisherman, wades into the middle of the Border issue, while Helen Cullen, author of The Lost Letters of William Woolf, celebrates the lost art of letter-writing, and 20 of our leading authors share their summer reading recommendations. We also have a host of reviews: Geoff Roberts on From Cold War to Hot Peace: The Inside Story of Russia and America by Michael McFaul; Maria Farrell on I Will Be Complete, a memoir by Glen David Gold; Seán Hewitt on So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernières; Sarah Gilmartin on Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin; Patrick Honohan on Eurotragedy by Ashoka Mody; John Boyne on David Sedaris’s Calypso; Jonathan McAloon on OK, Mr Field by Katharine Kilalea; Julie Parsons on We Couldn’t Leave Dinah by Mary Treadgold; and Claire Hennesy on the best new YA.