1992 Nobel Prize in Literature
Derek Walcott
"for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment."
  • 8 October 1992 (1992-10-08) (announcement)
  • 10 December 1992
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
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The 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Saint Lucian poet Derek Walcott (1930–2017) "for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment."[1][2] He became the first and only Caribbean writer to be awarded with the prize.[3][4]


Main article: Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott's works often deal with Caribbean history, while he simultaneous searches for vestiges of the colonial era. Western literary canon is revised and given a completely new form, as in the poetry collection Omeros (1990). His poetic voice reflected a blend of his ear for the English language and his sense of his own people.[5] In his writing, Walcott explores the complexity of living and working in two cultures.[6][4] Aside from poetry, Walcott also wrote plays which brought him theatre recognitions such as Henri Christophe: A Chronicle in Seven Scenes (1950), Dream on Monkey Mountain (1967), and Beef, No Chicken (1987).[3]


Stephen Breslow explained that he and the Swedish Academy chose Derek Walcott for the Nobel Laureate in Literature because his work had "a strong regional voice that transcends its topical locality, through the depth and breadth of its poetic resonance and through its global human implication." It was Walcott's ability to be more than just "exotic" that brought his work critical attention. Breslow explains that "Walcott has merged a profound, rhapsodic reverie upon his remote birthplace – its people, its landscape, and its history – with the central, classical tradition of Western civilization." This ability shows the importance of multiculturalism and literary mastery to the Swedish Academy. Walcott's works represent how different cultures can enrich one another to produce even more compelling works.[7]

Nobel lecture

In his Nobel acceptance speech, Walcott describes life on Antilles and what it means to discover identity. He describes all of the "broken fragments" of his "diasporic" identity. People need books, he says, but they are not enough to encompass all that a culture is. Walcott says that "the visible poetry of the Antilles, then. [is] Survival" because "all of the Antilles, every island, is an effort of memory; every mind, every racial biography culminating in amnesia and fog." He encompasses the diasporic identity found in Caribbean literature by looking at how insignificant he feels because he cannot, alone, fully bring together a cultural identity.[8]


  1. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature 1992 nobelprize.org
  2. ^ David Streitfeld (9 October 1992). "Poet Derek Walcott wins Nobel Prize". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b Derek Walcott britannica.com
  4. ^ a b Derek Walcott – Poetry Foundation poetryfoundation.org
  5. ^ Grimes, William (17 March 2017). "Derek Walcott, Poet and Nobel Laureate of the Caribbean, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2022-01-01. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  6. ^ Derek Walcott – Facts nobelprize.org
  7. ^ Breslow, Stephen. "Derek Walcott: 1992 Nobel Laureate in Literature". World Literature Today, vol. 67, no. 2, 1993, pp. 267–271, doi:10.2307/40149065.
  8. ^ "Derek Walcott – Nobel Lecture: The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory". Nobel Foundation. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web.