Documentary about Derek Walcott

Our thanks to Peter Jordens for this post, with its translation from the Dutch original.

The Dutch-based Working Group on Caribbean Literature reports that a documentary is being made about 82-year-old Derek Walcott who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2011. With that aim in mind a film crew recently left Aruba and went to St. Lucia, the birthplace of the Nobel laureate and an important factor in his world-famous poetry. The most famous reader of Walcott’s work is U.S. President Barack Obama.

The film crew consists of director and producer Ida Does (Suriname) and producer Rebecca Roos and cameraman Ingmar Maduro (Aruba).

Walcott celebrated his birthday on January 23 and received many guests including his friend Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet who is also a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. At the same time the annual Week of the Nobel Laureates was being held in St. Lucia. During that week various intellectual and artistic activities are held in honor of the two Nobel laureates that this eastern Caribbean island of 160,000 souls has produced. St. Lucia’s other Nobel laureate is Sir Arthur Lewis who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1979 together with the American Theodore Schultz.

According to Ida Does, filming “exceeds expectations and is going well, mainly because of the generous cooperation and input of Derek Walcott and the support we are receiving in St. Lucia.” Rebecca Rose calls the footage of the Caribbean community in St. Lucia “beautiful, but sometimes also confrontational and forceful.” Ingmar Maduro speaks of “a unique experience and special footage.” The film crew has already shot footage in Gros Islet, on the beautiful Derek Walcott Square in the capital Castries, in Canaries and in Anse Le Ray. Close friends of Walcott have also been filmed.

The research and the first phase of the documentary have been made ​​possible by the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund in Aruba and the BRITDOC/PUMA Creative Catalyst Award from the U.K. A trailer for the movie will soon be made available online. The filmmakers aim to release the documentary by the end of 2012.

For the original article (in Dutch), see

For a project description of the documentary, see the website of the Channel4 BRITDOC Foundation,

Self-portrait by Derek Walcott from

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