Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts Gaeltacht, Sport & Media today, June 29th 2023, Catherine Martin, launched the Events Programme to mark the Centenary of the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature, to WB Yeats in 1923. The Programme has been organised by Yeats Society Sligo and will bring to a close the official Decade of Centenaries’ series of events.
WB Yeats was informed of the award on November 14 1923 and he was present in Stockholm for the Award ceremony on December 10, 1923. He was accompanied by his wife, George and was the first Irish person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel Academy citation for Yeats read: ‘for his always inspired poetry, which gives in a highly artistic form gives expression to the whole nation.’
The Nobel Centenary Programme includes collaborations with the Abbey Theatre, Seanad Eireann, National Library of Ireland, the Library network and all primary schools. One of the final events: The Future of Poetry in Ireland will be led by current Ireland Chair of Poetry, Paul Muldoon, accompanied by other poets and speakers.
Minister Martin said:
“Alongside our commemoration of the great tragedy of the Irish Civil War this year, we are also marking many early milestones of the nascent Free State. Among these are some key cultural achievements, none greater than the award in 1923 of the Nobel Prize in Literature to WB Yeats.
Through the Decade of Centenaries, we have gained new perspectives on events we thought we understood already. Yeats through his poetry, contributions to public discourse and his achievements at the time of our emergence as an independent State, inputted substantively to public debate and national conversation. His cultural significance resonates to this day, and it is entirely fitting that my Department is supporting the Society’s centenary programme under the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012-2023.”
Chair of Yeats Society Sligo Lorraine McDonnell said:
“Yeats Society Sligo is both honoured and delighted to be working in a unique partnership with Minister Martin’s department to deliver these events to mark this important occasion.
Yeats Society Sligo has been celebrating the work of WB Yeats since 1960; this programme builds on this tradition of honouring the work of our national poet. I would also like to thank the Yeats family for their continued support and involvement with Yeats Society Sligo, first with WB’s son Michael and now, with Michael’s daughter Caitríona, who is Patron of the Yeats International Summer School. Now, in its 64th year, it is the longest running literary summer school in the world.”