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The only event on the island of Ireland to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of poet and author, Sylvia Plath is being held at the University of Ulster later this month.

The University’s School of English will mark the occasion on Monday, 11th February 2013, with an evening on the Belfast campus, celebrating Plath's outstanding contribution to modern literature.

Sylvia Plath: A 50-Year Retrospective, takes place from 7.30 – 10pm, in the Conor Lecture Theatre, York Street.

The evening will feature fascinating talks from academics with a special interest in this subject; an audience Q&A session; poetry readings; sound clips and a Plath studies book display.

There will also be a slide show of archival material including manuscripts, images of places she lived, studied and visited; rare Plath photos and realia including love notes from the poet Ted Hughes and excerpts from personal diaries.

Organised by University of Ulster PhD student Maeve O’Brien, who is writing a dissertation exploring the relationship between Plath’s work and silence, the event is free and open to anyone with an interest in the work of Plath or poetry in general.

“Sylvia Plath: A 50-year Retrospective is the only event on the island of Ireland that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Plath’s passing,” Maeve O’Brien said.

“I felt compelled to organise this evening because it is important to honour Plath and her writings. So much focus is placed on Plath’s life and the facts of her death, that her work is often overlooked.

“This evening aims to celebrate Plath’s achievements – her literary artistry, skill and dedication to her craft.

“With a variety of exciting talks, poetry readings and a display of books and rare photographs, this event will offer a reassessment of the Plath that is presented in our contemporary media, and instead show her as a vivacious, talented and passionate individual, whose gift for writing deserves to be considered alongside the great poets of the 20th century.”

For further information about the event, please contact:

Media enquiries

Audrey Watson

Media & Corporate Relations

University of Ulster

T: 02890366386


Notes to Editors

Maeve O’Brien is available for interview

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932– February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College, Cambridge before receiving acclaim as a professional poet and writer.

She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956 and they lived together first in the United States and then England, having two children together, Frieda and Nicholas.

After suffering from depression and a marital separation, Plath committed suicide in 1963. Controversy continues to surround the events of her life and death, as well as her writing and legacy.

Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for her two published collections: ‘The Colossus and other Collected Poems’ and ‘Ariel’. In 1982, she won a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for ‘The Collected Poems’.

She also wrote ‘The Bell Jar’, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death.