Main content
Ellmann Lectures 2024, Writing Lives, March 3 - 5

How should a poet properly live and write? What is his relationship to his own voice, his own place, his literary heritage and his contemporary world?

Seamus Heaney, Preoccupations, 1980

The Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature, now among the most prominent in North America, were established in honor of Richard Ellmann (1918–1987), who served Emory University as the first Robert W. Woodruff Professor from 1980 to 1987.

For more than 40 years, Ellmann’s writing set the highest standards of critical inquiry and humanistic scholarship. The biographer of James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Oscar Wilde, Ellmann’s public lectures were unparalleled in their appeal to a worldwide audience of readers. Ellmann always spoke in a language that invited the reader to share his or her personal engagement with serious literature.

2024 Ellmann Lectures: Writing Lives

The 2024 Richard Ellmann Lectures are in honor of the 10th anniversary of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney’s death. Chosen by Ellmann himself, Seamus Heaney gave the inaugural lectures at Emory in 1988, a joyous occasion remembered here by the founder of the series, Ron Schuchard.

This year’s speakers, Natasha Trethewey and Fintan O’Toole, both have a personal connection to Heaney and will lecture on the theme of “Writing Lives,” considering the relationship between art, life, and writing in various forms and contexts.