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Nobel Prize-Winning Poet Derek Walcott Will be Featured in a Literary Presentation in Brooklyn

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March 3, 2014


Contact: Clarence V. Reynolds

718-804-8881 / creynolds@mec.cuny.edu


Maeshay K. Lewis

718-804-8882 / mlewis@mec.cuny.ed


Nobel Prize-Winning Poet Derek Walcott Featured in an Historical Literary Presentation at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York


National:  About Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, The New York Times Book Review commented: “No poet rivals Mr. Walcott in humor, emotional depth, lavish inventiveness in language… His poetry makes us realize that history, all of it, belongs to us.”  On Friday, March 28, 2014, The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, presents a special literary event featuring Nobel Prize-winning writer Derek Walcott. For this historic program, poet and playwright Derek Walcott will be joined by the Trinidad-born poet Mervyn Taylor and St. Lucian poet and producer Adrian Augier to participate in a program titled “The Search for Self in Caribbean Literature: Past, Present, and Future.” The conversation will focus on Walcott’s writing life and explore the themes of identity, memory, belonging and spirituality in his work and in Caribbean literature.  The program will take place at 6:30 p.m., on the campus of Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Ave., in Brooklyn, N.Y., 11225. 


Caribbean literature covers diverse regions and writers from the Caribbean write from different geographical, cultural, linguistic, and political spaces. Walcott, Augier, and Taylor will explore and discuss the complexity of Caribbean literature and raise questions related to how Walcott’s poems and plays represent themes such as the conflict and impact of colonialism, an embracing of his African heritage, and an exploration of the divided self. The conversation will be followed by a question-and-answer period with the attendees.


There is a $10 donation for this program, which is a project of the National Black Writers Conference and sponsored by the Center for Black Literature, the Caribbean Research Center and the Caribbean Cultural Theatre Inc. 


Walcott is the poet and playwright of more than 20 books, including the recently published “The Poetry of Derek Walcott,” by Farrar, Straus and Giroux; “Omeros,” a collection of poems (1998); and the play “Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays” (1971). Walcott, who was born in St. Lucia, won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is also the recipient of many awards, including the MacArthur Foundation award, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 1988, the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2011, and Montale Prize in 2012; and he is an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Walcott has praised the poetry of Taylor and stated, “The sense of search, of the avoidance of flash … keeps him separate and unique.”


There is a new generation of students, writers, and a segment of the general public who have not had an opportunity to meet and hear a Nobel Laureate talk about literature; additionally there are many who may not have heard about or know Derek Walcott. “A goal of this special literary program is to expose an intergenerational audience who are lovers of literature and the arts to the work of an extraordinary writer whose writing has had an impacted on world literature,” said Brenda Greene, chair of the English department at Medgar Evers College and executive director of the Center for Black Literature. “This will be an historical moment for the general public, students, and the Brooklyn community, home to one of the largest Caribbean populations in New York City, and for the larger community of writers and emerging literary professionals.” During the program, the audience will hear a lively conversation and be able to engage in a dialogue with Walcott, Taylor, and Augier.


The major goals of the Center for Black Literature and National Black Writers Conference are to expose the general public and a younger and emerging generation of writers to writers whose work represents the rich and complex tradition of literature from many parts of the African Diaspora, to provide the public with opportunities to hear writers talk about their work and their craft and to expand the public’s knowledge about the range of texts created by Black writers.


This program, “A Conversation with Derek Walcott,” is supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. For more information and details, call the Center for Black Literature at 718-804-8883 or visit online at www.centerforblackliterature.org.


The Center for Black Literature, “Celebrating 10 Years of Honoring the Literature of People of the African Diaspora.” For more information about CBL and the Center’s events and programs, please visit us online at: www.centerforblackliterature.org. Search “Center for Black Literature” on Facebook.com. Phone: 718-804-8883; E-mail: writers@mec.cuny.edu.





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