Seamus Heaney wins literature prize

It was two in a row for the Irish in London last night when Nobel prize winning poet Seamus Heaney took home one of the most important UK literary awards.

The David Cohen Prize for Literature, worth £40,000, is awarded every two years for a lifetime’s achievement.

Mr Heaney, from Bellaghy in Co Londonderry, was presented with the prize at a gala dinner in the British Library by British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

The last winner was also Irish, poet Derek Mahon.

Mr Heaney said: “Much about the David Cohen Prize makes it highly honorific: first of all there’s the list of the previous winners, a roll call of the best; there’s the fact that you don’t enter for it but are chosen from the wide field of your contemporaries; and then there’s the verification of that reference to ‘lifetime achievement’.”