“Interlocking Basins of a Globe”: UWI celebrates Caribbean Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott

Event Date(s): 13/01/2010 - 15/01/2010

Location: Learning Resource Centre, UWI St Augustine

Derek Walcott, Poet Laureate, essayist, dramatist, painter, journalist and filmmaker will be the focus of a celebratory academic conference in his honour from 13th to 15th January at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine. The academic conference entitled “Interlocking Basins of a Globe” has been scheduled to dovetail with St Lucia’s Nobel Laureate Week held every year during the week of the birthdays of Walcott and Sir Arthur Lewis.  

This is Walcott’s eightieth birthday and the conference includes elements of the many facets of his work, including his pioneering contribution to Caribbean drama; Professor Bridget Brereton will chair a special panel comprising long-standing members of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop.  

The list of eminent international scholars who have confirmed their attendance includes such well-known names in Caribbean scholarship as Laurence Breiner, Paul Breslin, Kenneth Ramchand and Rhonda Cobham. The gathering will hear a keynote address delivered by Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh who, in 2007, edited Derek Walcott’s Selected Poems and whose work on Walcott is legendary. Other featured speakers include Professor Emeritus Gordon Rohlehr and Dr Jean Antoine-Dunne whose work spans both literature and film. 

Panellists will discuss topics such as “Walcott’s Ghosts and Confréres” and “History as Muse” and Walcott’s contribution to Caribbean intellectual thought. The dramatic works as well as the often-quoted Nobel speech, The Antilles, will be further illuminated through a repeat performance of the Department of Creative and Festival Arts’ production “Fragments” and there will be a special secondary schools’ event. 

One of the unique inclusions in the multi-pronged programme is a mini film festival of Walcott’s own films. The Haytian Earth made for television and produced by Timmy Mora and The Rig directed by Walcott and filmed by Christopher Laird as well as Yao Ramesar’s film, The Saddhu of Couva, which is narrated and directed by Walcott, will all be screened. These are works that are rarely shown and they should certainly give an added dimension to the proceedings.   

Walcott, who now spends much of his time travelling through Europe and the Americas when not in St Lucia or Trinidad, will be present. These journeys form the subject of his latest major poem, The Prodigal (2004), a work that also mourns the death of Walcott’s twin brother, Roddy. The movement between here and elsewhere is also one of the themes of the visually magnificent book Tiepolo’s Hound which celebrates the life and work of another Caribbean artist, Camille Pissarro, whose voluntary exile to Paris influenced the French Impressionist movement. 

Walcott will read from his work during the conference. 


Open to: | General Public | Staff | Student | Alumni |