This is the first literary biography of Nobel Prize-winning poet and dramatist Derek Walcott. It traces the creative contradictions in his life from colonial St Lucia, where he was part of a tiny English-speaking Protestant mulatto elite in an overwhelmingly French-creole Roman Catholic black society, to 1999 when, a star of international literature and a symbol of cultural decolonization, he wanted to be Poet Laureate of England. The author has had access to
letters, diaries, uncollected and unpublished writings, and conducted numerous interviews in the Caribbean, North America and Europe. Walcott is seen as someone driven by the need to justify his life and fulfil his talents before an unknowable God, but who, in mastering the ways of the world often regards
himself as an example of fallen humanity. Besides offering an approach to Walcott as a poet, dramatist, theatre director, arts critic, and teacher, the book shows how his desire to be a painter influenced his vision and the way he works.