This year Sir James Galway, Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley all celebrated their 70th birthday but as far as I know the local arts sector did not pick up on the fact that another Ulster-born poet was 70 years old.
He writes both poetry and fiction and some of his later work deals with Northern Ireland. The Listeners (1991) explores the lives of a group of musicians in Protestant Belfast and A Bad Day to be Winning (1991) is a series of short stories set in Protestant Ulster. In March 2007 the city of Vancouver named him as its inaugural poet laureate for a two-year term.
It seems to me that too often we forget those who have left these shores and made their mark elsewhere. George McWhirter is just one example and there are many more.
Those who are tasked with preserving and promoting our cultural wealth have a responsibility to raise awareness of these artists, whose work is part of that cultural wealth.