Students Staff

25 January 2011

Derek Walcott wins 2010 T S Eliot Prize

Professor Walcott, Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex,

Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott has won the Poetry Book Society’s 2010 T S Eliot Prize for his latest book White Egrets.

Professor Walcott, who is Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex, was chosen for the T S Eliot Prize from a field of ten highly-regarded poets from around the world.

The judging panel included chair Anne Stevenson and fellow-poets Bernardine Evaristo and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Stevenson, speaking at the TS Eliot Prize award ceremony at the Wallace Collection in London, said: "This year's exceptionally strong and varied shortlist made it difficult to choose the winner, but the judges felt that Derek Walcott's White Egrets was a moving, risk-taking and technically flawless book by a great poet."

Professor Walcott told Radio 4’s Today programme he was flattered and honoured by the award.

Discussing White Egrets he said: “It is as honest as it can be in terms of one’s relationship with life as it passes you.”

Born in St Lucia in 1930, Professor Walcott studied at the University College of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. His collection of poems In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962), celebrating the Caribbean, brought him to public attention. Since then he has published many other poetry collections.

In Omeros (1990), an epic poem and his most ambitious work, he invokes the lives and voices of the people of the Caribbean through Greek myth and epic, drawing on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. The book won the W H Smith Literary Award in 1990. His Collected Poems 1948-1984 were published in 1986, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. He is an honorary member of the American Academy and the Institute of Arts and Letters.

Professor Walcott, who also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Essex, has been Essex’s Professor of Poetry since December 2009.

Professor Walcott on Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday January 25

Professor Walcott reads from White Egrets on Radio 4

British poet Daljit Nagra reads Walcott's poem 'Sixty Years After' from Derek Walcott's White Egrets at the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry awards night (featured on

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