Seamus Heaney Launches 'Anything Can Happen' at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

New Book in Support of Amnesty International

Seamus Heaney at a ceremony in NUI Galway, today (Wednesday 17 November, Aula Maxima, Upper) launched his new book Anything Can Happen, in collaboration with Amnesty International. Anything Can Happen is Heaney's translation of an ode by Horace written over 2,000 years ago, with an accompanying essay on the conflict in today s world, and 23 translations of the poem.

"This work perfectly reflects Amnesty's warnings on the threats to human rights in the world today," said Director of Amnesty International's Irish Section Sean Love. "It will be a huge boost to our work in Ireland and around the world, and Anything Can Happen maintains our long tradition of support from internationally-recognised artists."

Anything Can Happen was formally launched by the South African Ambassador, H.E. Melanie Verwoerd, at NUI Galway today. In a special ceremony, Seamus Heaney presented a unique copy of the book, signed by Nelson Mandela, to the President of NUI Galway Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. Students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights read extracts from the work in various languages.

Welcoming the guests to the University, President Ó Muircheartaigh remarked, "it is a great pleasure to host the launch of this work by one of the world's leading poets in support of Amnesty, and it is indeed fitting that this launch takes place at NUI Galway, home to the Irish Centre for Human Rights." He continued "on behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to accept the special edition of Anything Can Happen signed by Nelson Mandela when he visited the University in June 2003."

The poem is published with an accompanying essay in which Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney reflects on the relevance of art in the political context of the twenty-first century. The language translations are presented in an order that reminds us of the difficult histories between the people who speak them.

The webcast of this event will be available from 2.30pm (local time) at www.nuigalway.ie/anythingcanhappen

Anything Can Happen is available from Amnesty's website at www.amnesty.ie

The translations appear courtesy of the Irish Translators' and Interpreters' Association, who have generously donated their efforts to the project.

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