January 17, 2010

Walcott and Haiti

Derek Walcott, the Carib-bean’s foremost poet and playwright, who was born in Castries, St Lucia on January 23, 1930, turns 80 this weekend. The distinguished writer, who is also a painter as well as critic of the arts and literature, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. In Trinidad, where he lived for 17 years between 1959 and 1977, a lavish birthday celebration put up by the UWI, St Augustine Campus was completed only yesterday, built around an academic conference titled Interlocking Basins of the Globe.

Among the many topics being discussed was Walcott’s artistic and intellectual engagement with Haiti, which dates back to 1949 when he was writing his earliest plays. That engagement continued through other plays and a film. It was therefore one of the key discussion points and subjects of analysis during the celebrations.

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