Alton Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 - the first
individual from the English-speaking Caribbean to do so. His
prize winning book Omeros (poem) - published in 1990 tipped the scales
in his favour. In January 1999 he was short-listed as one of the
persons recommended to be Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom.
Born at Castries, Saint Lucia on 23rd
January 1930 to Alix and Warwick Walcott he is the twin brother of
Roderick Alden Walcott who is also a dramatist and writer. He has
one older sister Pamela Walcott St. Hill. His mother was a school
teacher and his father a civil servant and they belonged to the
attended the Methodist Infant School and was awarded a Government
Scholarship to St. Mary’s College when he was eleven years old.
While at the college he was awarded a Silver Cup for Literature and
went on to become the first Saint Lucian to be awarded a CD&W
Scholarship to the University College of the West Indies in 1945.
graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mona, Jamaica. When
the Federation of the West Indies was inaugurated in Trinidad, it was
Derek’s historical play Drums and Colors which was the highlight of the
Festival of Arts in Port-of-Spain.
went on to set up the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in Port-of-Spain and
was able to produce his plays such as Dream on Monkey Mountain, Henri
Christophe and The Joker of Seville.
received a number of awards for his work such as the Pegasus Award for
Poetry, the Guinness Award for Poetry, and the Cholmondeley Prize for
In 1957 he was awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation to study theatre in the United States.
1970 he received a Commonwealth Fellowship to the Leeds University for
six months and later that year a fellowship grant from the Andrew Wood
Foundation to continue theatre work in Trinidad followed.
1972 he was awarded the Queen’s OBE for Literature and in 1973 was the
first graduate of the University College of the West Indies to be
awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters. He also received
the Hummingbird Gold Medal from Dr. Eric Williams.
is truly a Caribbean man and attributes his success to his mother who
was an amateur dramatist, his father who was an amateur artist, his
mentor Harold Simmons who helped him with his painting and writing, his
years in the St. Lucia Arts Guild which he helped to establish, the
beauty of the flora and fauna of his homeland and his strong Protestant