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Derek Walcott was born in Saint Lucia, the West Indies, in 1930, and began writing poetry at the age of eighteen. He graduated from the University of the West Indies, and in 1957 was awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation to study the American theater.
In 1959, he founded the Trinidad Theater Workshop, and his plays have been produced throughout the United States. 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. He has also organized an exchange program between his Boston Playwrights' Theatre and the Trinidad Theatre Workshop.
His play Dream on Monkey Mountain won the Obie Award for distinguished foreign play of 1971. He also received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, and, in 1988, the Queen's Medal for Poetry. He is an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Walcott's poetry collections include The Prodigal (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004), Tiepolo's Hound (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000), The Bounty (1997), Omeros (1990), The Arkansas Testament (1987), Collected Poems: 1948-1984 (1986), Midsummer (1986), The Fortunate Traveller (1981), The Star-Apple Kingdom (1979), Sea Grapes (1976), Another Life (1973), The Gulf (1970), The Castaway (1965), and In a Green Night (1962).
His first collection of essays, What the Twilight Says (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), was published in 1998. His plays include The Odyssey: A Stage Version (1992); The Isle is Full of Noises (1982); Remembrance and Pantomime (1980); The Joker of Seville and O Babylon! (1978); Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays (1970); Three Plays: The Last Carnival; Beef, No Chicken; and A Branch of the Blue Nile (1969).
Derek Walcott teaches creative writing at Boston University every fall and lives the rest of the year in St. Lucia. (2007)
October 5, 2004