Nobel Prize-winning author Derek Walcott is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. According to Caribbean Book Blog:
If there’s one thing that pisses off Derek Walcott, it’s the Caribbean governments’ blatant disregard for the development of the literary arts and their seeming indifference to the plight of the region’s writers and artistes.
This isn’t a new theme for Walcott. He has often been vocal in his criticism of the government of his homeland, St Lucia, “citing the absence of a theatre and a museum on the island – to this day — as a shame and a betrayal of the people.”
But recent transgressions have the writer, who will be 83 this month, more riled than ever.
“I don’t want to make a judgment that is going to incriminate any one party or any government. Saint Lucia is going through a very tough economic crisis and naturally the arts suffer. What we have to do is keep thinking that no matter what the crisis, the arts are a necessity. But we have to have the money to sustain them. So, yes, more should be done but we need to look for subsidies for sustaining the arts. We still do not have a museum or a theatre – and that’s criminal. And no party should excuse itself for not doing that for the people. These things are not for the artistes, they are for the people of Saint Lucia.”
Walcott was a bit more acerbic when he was informed that the year-old St Lucia Labour Party government had created a new ministry called the Ministry of Creative Industries. He seemed shocked at the title.
“That’s the name of a ministry? Someone who was creative did not do it? It’s not a nice title. I don’t know what creative industries means!”
Walcott, who is in St Lucia for Nobel Laureates Week, became even more upset when a reporter told him about a new multi-million dollar luxury resort dubbed Freedom Bay that is about to be built in Soufriere, on the island’s west coast, in the vicinity of the celebrated Pitons. It is near a UNESCO World Heritage site that the author helped work to protect in the early 1990s.
In addition to the Nobel Prize for Literature, Walcott’s illustrious career has included the Cholmondeley Award, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the T. S. Eliot Prize and in 1972 he was named as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He is currently Professor of poetry at the University of Essex.
The story in Caribbean Book Blog is here.