Nobel laureate Derek Walcott passed away at the age of 87

    Derek Walcott, the University of Alberta’s first Nobel laureate faculty member, has passed away in Saint Lucia. Derek Walcott was a faculty member at the Department of English and Film Studies 2009 to 2012.

    March 17, 2017

    On May 1, 2009, Michael Davies-Venn wrote the following article for the U of A Folio:

    The University of Alberta is beginning its second century with its first Nobel laureate on faculty.

    One of the world’s most prolific playwrights and poets, Derek Walcott will begin a three-year term as the Distinguished Scholar in Residence this fall.

    Walcott will spend six weeks each year teaching intensive poetry and playwriting courses and mentoring staff and students in those disciplines.

    “I am absolutely thrilled that the U of A will begin its second century of classes with a Nobel Prize recipient in the Faculty of Arts,” said President Indira Samarasekera. “Mr. Walcott is the calibre of artist that could go anywhere, but he chose to come here. It is because of the foundations laid over the last 100 years that we can build these kinds of relationships and attract extraordinary people to this city.”

    The poet and playwright, originally from St. Lucia, has written more than 30 plays and 20 poetry collections during a career that started when he published his first poem at age 14. Walcott’s writing, which melds a number of genres including mythology and folktales, is rooted in Caribbean post-colonial culture and includes such acclaimed works asIn a Green Night and 25 Poems.

    Faculty of Arts Dean Daniel Woolf said, “Professor Walcott is a veteran visitor to the U of A, having previously come on two occasions. It was a gift for our students to work so closely with a man who has dedicated his life to poetry and whose work in the literary world has had far-reaching artistic, social and political repercussions.

    “I’m thrilled that the university will have him here for a teaching position.”

    In 2011, Derek Walcott also won one of the highest recognitions in British poetry, the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for his collection of poems, White Egrets, which was partially completed during his time at the U of A. He has also been a Griffin Poetry Prize Lifetime Recognition recipient.