Derek Walcott

Derek Alton Walcott was the 1992 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Walcott's West-Indian heritage has had a strong influence on his life and work. Both his grandmothers were said to have been the descendants of slaves. His father, an Englishman was a Bohemian water-painter living in St. Lucia, died when Derek and his twin brother, Roderick, were only a few years old. His mother ran the town's Methodist school.

Derek Walcott St.Lucia
After studying at St. Mary's College in his native island and at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Walcott moved in 1953 to Trinidad, where he has worked as theatre and art critic. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems (1948), but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night (1962).

He studied theatre at Jose Quintero's acting school in New York City in 1958-59. He lived thereafter in Trinidad and the United States. Walcott won the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "genius" award in 1981. He joined the Boston University faculty as a professor of poetry and playwriting that year. He also taught at Harvard University.

Walcott, best known for his poetry, is also an accomplished playwright. Of Walcott's approximately 30 plays, the best known are Dream on Monkey Mountain (produced 1967), Ti-Jean and His Brothers (1958), and Pantomime (1978). Many of his plays make use of themes from black folk culture in the Caribbean.