It’s not every day you get to see a Nobel Laureate read his work, and for some Derek Walcott’s reading today is the type of rare opportunity that pulls them to Chicago in the first place. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, Walcott (now 80) has taken the light shed upon his native Caribbean sea as a new telling of old myths, framing his own experiences in the many cultures that have flooded it’s waters for hundreds of years.
Born and raised in Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island passed from French and British colonization for hundreds of years before it’s full independence in 1979, Walcott’s heritage and language reflects the effects of colonization on the Caribbean Islands, throwing those islands at the western tradition with the same wash of water that brought ships of foreign lands to its shores.
After studying in St. Lucia and Jamaica during the late forties and early fifties, he’s lived between Trinidad, St. Lucia and the States, founded The Trinidad Theater Workshop, The Boston Playwrights’ Theater, and received several awards including The MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. He is the author of several plays and collections of poems, including Omeros, the poetic interpretation of Odysseus’s return home set in St. Lucia that won him the Nobel Prize. Currently he is releasing his 22 collection of poetry, White Egrets.
Derek Walcott will be reading selections of his work Thursday, April 1, at Fullerton Hall of The Art Institute Of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. at 6:00 pm, with a book signing to follow. Admission is free.