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Derek Walcott obituary | 17-Mar-17

The renowned and much-loved poet and playwright Derek Walcott has died aged 87. 

Derek was born in St Lucia in 1930. He had his first poem published when he was just 14 and by the time he was 19 he had self-published two collections. A year later he had staged his first play and was accepted to study English, French and Latin at the University College of the West Indies in Jamaica.

After graduating, he moved to Trinidad and founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. He wrote many plays and his Dream on Monkey Mountain won the Obie Award for distinguished foreign play of 1971. He later founded Boston Playwrights' Theatre at Boston University in 1981.

Derek's work was full of influence from throughout the literary and poetic canon yet he made everything exquisitely his own. Omeros was his Caribbean reimagining of The Odyssey, bringing him international regard. He was award the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. He was the first Caribbean writer to receive the prize.

Further honors included a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Montale Prize, a Royal Society of Literature Award, and, in 1988, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry. In 2015, he received the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Derek Walcott died in St Lucia on Monday 17 March 2017.

Read more about Walcott's life on The Guardian and on Poets.org


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