Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry in Northern Ireland. He obtained a first class degree in English Language and Literature from Queen's University, Belfast in 1961, and taught in the English Department there until 1972, when he left in order to devote more time to his writing. In 1975, he resumed teaching - at Carysfort College, Dublin and later Oxford University and Harvard University, where he is currently the Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet-in-Residence. He has published a number of poetry collections, including The Haw Lantern, which won the Whitbread Poetry Award in 1987. He is also highly regarded as a translator, his translation of Beowulf (1999) winning the Whitbread Book of the Year prize. In October 1995, Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.