Saturday, 23 January 2010

On this day...

Caribbean writer Derek Walcott was born in 1930. Descended from slaves in the West Indies, Walcott hails from the island of St. Lucia, and, as is to be expected, cultural themes feature prominently in his works. The son of two schoolteachers, Walcott began to read early on, and his love of writing developed accordingly; he published his first book of poems at the age of 18. After a continuation of writing in various mediums, Walcott received a Rockefeller Foundation grant in 1957, allowing him to study in New York's theatres for two years. After the internship, he himself founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in the city, and it has produced both his and other plays since. In 1992, Walcott found himself the first Caribbean writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, the judges citing 'a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment' as their reasoning. Walcott was recently involved in controversy, when, following a smear campaign by a fellow candidate, he was denied the position of Oxford Professor of Poetry. Ruth Padel, the instigator, resigned after only nine days in office.Walcott's best known work is poem 'Omeros', a reworking of Homer's 'Odyssey'.

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