Derek Walcott - Biography

Derek Walcott was born in 1930 in Saint Lucia, Windward Islands, West Indies. He graduated from the University College of the West Indies and was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to study American drama in 1957. Presently, he divides his time between Trinidad and Boston and teaches Drama and Poetry in the English Department at Boston University.

Mr. Walcott founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959 as the Little Carib Theatre Workshop. It grew from a group of actors doing improvisations and scenes to an important repertory company presenting his plays as well as those of other Caribbean and international playwrights. He founded the Boston Playwrights' Theatre shortly after he accepted a professorship at Boston University which presents original works by local, national, and international playwrights. Mr. Walcott has organized an exchange program between his Boston Playwrights' Theatre and the Trinidad Theatre Workshop.

His plays have been produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Negro Ensemble Company, the American Repertory Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, among others. His stage adaptation of Homer's Odyssey was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1993 before sold out London audiences.
His achievements are many, including numerous awards for his verse as well as his drama. In 1969, Mr. Walcott received an O'Neill Foundation-Wesleyan University Fellowship for playwrights. In 1971, Dream on Monkey Mountain received an Obie for the most distinguished foreign play. He was awarded the Guggenheim award in 1977, the American Poetry Review award in 1979, the Welsh Arts International Writer's Prize in 1980, the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1988, and the W.H. Smith Prize in 1991. He was awarded a five year Mac Arthur Fellowship in 1981. In 1992, Mr. Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Recent work includes a volume of poems called The Bounty and a collaboration with Paul Simon on a musical named The Capeman.

Professor Education:
St. Mary's College, St. Lucia; University College of the West Indies

Teaching and Research Interests:
Poetry and drama writing.

Selected Publications:
The Bounty. (1997); The Odyssey stage adaptation (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1993); Omeros; The Arkansas Testament; Collected Poems; Midsummer; The Fortunate Traveller; Remembrance and Pantomime; The Star Apple Kingdom; Sea Grapes; Another Life; Dream on Monkey Mountain & Other Plays; The Gulf; The Castaway and Other Poems; In a Green Night; Epitaph of the Young; 25 Poems
Honors, Grants, and Awards:
Nobel Prize for Literature (1992); MacArthur Fellow

 



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