Skip to main content

Michael Longley papers

Identifier: Manuscript Collection No. 744

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of personal and literary papers of Michael Longley from 1960-2000. The bulk of the collection contains drafts, typescripts, and proofs of Longley's poems, essays, and prose pieces and works of other authors, most notably Seamus Heaney and Derek Mahon. The collection also contains correspondence, radio and film scripts, printed material, financial records, records relating to Longley's work for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and papers of his wife, Edna Longley.


  • 1960-2000

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Restrictions on access

Special restrictions apply: Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Biographical Note

Michael Longley was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on July 27, 1939. He attended Malone Primary School and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, before going on to Trinity College, Dublin, where he read Classics. After graduating with honors in 1963, he held a variety of teaching positions in Blackrock, Dublin, London, and Belfast.

It was while teaching in Belfast that Longley first attended Philip Hobsbaum's informal gatherings of writers known simply as "the group." There he and other young writers-including Seamus Heaney, Arthur Terry, Jack Packenham, Harry Chambers-read their poems and short stories and helped to foster the work of a new generation of Irish writers.

Longley published his first collection of poems, Ten Poems, in 1966, followed by Three Regional Voices (1967), Room to Rhyme (with Seamus Heaney and David Hammond, 1968), and Secret Marriages (1968). His first major collection of poems, No Continuing City: Poems 1963-1968, was published in 1969 by Macmillan. Since the 1960's Michael Longley has published numerous collections of poems, among them An Exploded View (1973), Man Lying on the Wall (1976), The Echo Gate (1979), Gorse Fires (1991) and The Ghost Orchid (1995). His Selected Poems, 1963 - 1980 was published in 1981, followed by a later selected edition, Poems, 1963 - 1983 in 1985. After his poetic silence of the 1980s, he published Gorse Fires in 1991 to critical acclaim, followed by The Ghost Orchid (1995), Selected Poems (1998), and The Weather in Japan (2000).

Michael Longley has received numerous awards for his poetry including the Eric Gregory Award in 1965 and, more recently, the 1991 Whitbread Poetry Prize for Gorse Fires as well as the 2000 T.S. Eliot Prize for The Weather in Japan. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry in 2001. He is a member of the Royal Society of Literature and of Aosdána.

In addition to writing poetry, Longley has also edited collections of poems by Louis MacNeice and W.R. Rodgers, and from 1970 - 1991 he directed the literature programs of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. In 1994 Longley published a collection of autobiographical prose pieces under the title Tuppenny Stung.

He is married to the critic Edna Longley and lives in Belfast.


40.625 linear feet (84 boxes) (4 oversized papers folders (OP))


Personal and literary papers of Irish poet Michael Longley consisting of manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, photographs, and records relating to the Arts Council of Nothern Ireland. Also includes some materials relating to literary critic Edna Longley.

Arrangement Note

Organized into 12 series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Writings by Michael Longley, (3) Writings by others, (4) Printed material, (5) Photographs, (6) Financial records, (7) Miscellaneous personal files, (8) Belfast Group sheets, (9) Arts Council of Northern Ireland records, (10) Subject files, (11) Edna Longley papers, and (12) Collected material.

Finding Aid Note

Index to selected correspondents in Series 1 is available for letters up to 1992.


Purchase, 1992 with subsequent additions.

Gift of Fleur Adcock, 2022 additions


Control level 3


File name: longley744.doc


Processed by Gavin Drummond, Delmas Fellow, 2001

Control level 3

File name: longley744.doc

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful.Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at

Index of Selected Correspondents

This index, which relates to the correspondence in Series 1, covers letters only up to 1992.
Adcock, Fleur
Amis, Martin
Betjeman, John
Boland, Eavan
Carson, Ciaran
Dunn, Douglas
Durcan, Paul
Ewart, Gavin
Friel, Brian
Fussell, Paul
Gallagher, Tess
Hall, Donald
Heaney, Marie
Heaney, Seamus
Hewitt, John
Higgins, Aidan
Hobsbaum, Philip
Hughes, Ted
Johnston, Jennifer
Kavanagh, Paul
Kennelly, Brendan
Lowell, Robert
McGuckian, Medbh
Mahon, Derek
Montague, John
Muldoon, Paul
Ní Dhomhnaill, Nuala
Ormsby, Frank
Pinter, Harold
Raine, Craig
Simmons, James
Stallworthy, Jon
Stevenson, Anne
Thwaite, Anthony
Trevor, William
Michael Longley papers, 1960-2000
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
December 9, 2002
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • November 24, 2014: Restricted container list in Series 1 redacted in finding aid.
  • August 25, 2016: Restricted container list in Series 1 unredacted in finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Repository

540 Asbury Circle
Atlanta Georgia 30322 United States