Derek Walcott, 1986 winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for poetry, was born on the island of St. Lucia in the British West Indies. When Walcott was less than a year old, his father died, leaving him and his twin brother, Roderick, to be brought up by their mother. Walcott was 14 when one of his poems was published in a newspaper, and four years later he published a book of 25 poems. The money for this project came from his mother, who could little spare it; he hawked the pamphlet throughout the island and was able to repay her.
In 1950 Walcott left St. Lucia and entered the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, where he took his B.A. in 1953. Upon graduation he moved to Trinidad, where he has worked as a book reviewer, art critic, playwright, and poet. His most famous collection, In a Green Night, was published in 1962 and garnered him immediate success at home and abroad. His dramas have received great critical acclaim and have been produced for the London and New York stages. He has recently spent a great deal of time in the United States.
After an Athenaeum reception and dinner, Walcott will read and comment on his poetry in Bauer Lecture Hall at 7:00 p.m.