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Release: Aug. 28, 2002

Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott Will Be UI Ida Beam Lecturer

Caribbean poet Derek Walcott, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 in Shambaugh Auditorium of the University of Iowa Main Library. Walcott will be on the UI campus as an Ida Beam Visiting Lecturer through the International Writing Program (IWP), English Department, and Writers' Workshop..

In announcing the 1992 Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy proclaimed of Walcott, “In him West Indian culture has found its great poet.” Born on St. Lucia in the Windward Islands, Walcott now shares time between Trinidad and the United States.

Walcott has called himself “a mulatto of style,” and his work explores the tensions and syntheses of his mixed heritage -- Europe and African/Caribbean. His recent published works include the poetry volumes “Collected Poems: 1948-1984,” “The Arkansas Testament,” “The Bounty,” “Omeros” and “Tiepolo's Hound”; the essay collection “What the Twilight Says”; and a variety of non-fiction books about the Caribbean. His Nobel lecture was published as “The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory.”

The founder of the Trinidad Theatrical Workshop, Walcott’s dramatic works include “Dream on Monkey Mountain,” “Ti-Jean and His Brothers,” “The Last Carnival” and a stage adaptation of “The Odyssey.” He has also collaborated on musicals with Galt McDermott, the creator of “Hair,” and contributed to Paul Simon’s “The Capeman.”

In addition to the Nobel Prize, his honors include an Obie Award for distinguished foreign play, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, and the Queen’s Medal for Poetry. He is an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

During his visit to the UI, Walcott will also offer a seminar for the IWP and students in the Writers’ Workshop.

Ida Beam, a native of Vinton, willed her farm to the UI Foundation in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. With proceeds from the sale of the farm, the UI established a fund to bring a variety of top scholars to the university for lectures and discussions.

Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers’ residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature. The IWP brings established writers of the world to the UI, where they become part of the lively literary community on campus. Over the years, nearly a thousand writers from more than 115 countries have completed residencies in the program. This fall’s program includes 36 writers from 30 countries.

To learn more about the IWP, visit < http://www.uiowa.edu/~iwp > the on the World Wide Web. For UI arts information, visit www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu.