The Institute of Irish Studies hosts Philippe Sands KC for the Fourth Annual Seamus Heaney Lecture

Philippe Sands giving a talk

Credit: McCoy Wynne

The Institute of Irish Studies welcomed renowned human rights barrister Professor Philippe Sands KC to deliver the Fourth Annual Seamus Heaney lecture at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday 7 December.

Professor Sands is Professor of Law at Kings College, London and President of English PEN.

He delivered an insightful lecture to a packed house on the subject of his latest book The Last Colony – a tale of exile, injustice and Britain’s colonial legacy in the Chagos Islands.

Professor Sands’ lecture was interspersed with a selection of poems read by Irish actress Justine Mitchell, who has appeared in hit TV shows such as Derry Girls and Conversations with Friends, including a reading of Seamus Heaney’s ‘From the Republic of Conscience.’

Justine Miller

Credit: McCoy Wynne

Named in memory of the world-renowned poet, playwright, translator and Nobel Laureate, the annual Seamus Heaney Lecture aims to reflect Heaney’s values, and his ability to communicate and connect with a wide audience. It provides a space to contemplate Heaney’s work and the ideas that engaged him.

Heaney, who was born in Northern Ireland but lived in Dublin for many years, died in 2013.

Members of Heaney’s family attended the lecture on 7th December, including his widow, Marie, and his children Catherine, Mick and Chris.

Nathaniel Reid, who graduated in Summer 2022, was also presented with the Seamus Heaney Annual Student Prize for his essay on history and time in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Nate and Catherine Heaney

Credit: McCoy Wynne

Professor Frank Shovlin from the Institute of Irish Studies, who introduced Professor Sands said: “It was a pleasure to welcome so many people to the University of Liverpool for our annual Seamus Heaney lecture.

“I’d like to thank Philippe Sands for delivering such a fascinating lecture and Justine for her beautiful poetry reading.

“I’d also like to thank the Estate of Seamus Heaney and the Heaney family for trusting the Institute of Irish Studies to continue to host this highly successful lecture series. Now in it’s fourth year, we look forward to the lectures continuing for many years to come.”

Philippe Sands signing a copy of his book

You can watch the lecture in full below: