Arrowsmith Press, in partnership with The Derek Walcott Festival in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and the Boston Playwrights' Theatre, announces the first annual Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry to be awarded to a full-length book of poems by a living poet who is not a US citizen (green card holders welcome) published in the previous calendar year.
The book must be in English or in English translation, and may have been published anywhere in the world.
The prize includes a $1,000 cash award, along with a reading at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre in Boston, the publication of a limited-edition broadside by Arrowsmith Press, and a week-long residency at Derek Walcott’s home in either St. Lucia or in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, during the annual Walcott Festival. In the case of translations, the prize money is to be shared by the poet and the translator.
Publishers are invited to enter books published between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019. Submissions must be received by February 15, 2020. There is a $20 submission fee. Unlimited submissions allowed, but each book requires its own submission and fee. Two hard copies of each book should be mailed to Arrowsmith Press, 11 Chestnut Street, Medford, MA 02155. The winner will be announced in May, and a reading will be scheduled for October, 2020. The prize committee hopes to work with publishers to coordinate with their author’s touring schedule.
In 2019, the Walcott Festival showcased an exhibition of oils and watercolour paintings as well as storyboards by the Nobel Laureate; fully subscribed Writing Workshops with playwright Kate Snodgrass and poet Ishion Hutchinson; as well as a panel discussion at Medulla Art Gallery; and a Poetry Reading hosted by the Australian High Commission in April and May. In September (26-29th) ‘Ti Jean & His Brothers’ opens at Queen’s Hall, Trinidad. Written by Walcott, the play will be directed by Wendell Manwarren and feature music by Andre Tanker.
“My sister, Elizabeth and I are truly honored and excited about the annual Derek Walcott Prize for poetry, which will give poets worldwide an opportunity to have their work published and showcased,” Anna Walcott-Hardy, co-executor of the Walcott Estate said recently. “Our father always remembered the help he got and believed strongly in supporting up and coming writers. He founded the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in 1981 at Boston University -- it’s an award-winning professional theatre dedicated to new works, and we look forward to attending the readings there, as well as hosting the winner in Trinidad and St Lucia. Our special thanks to Kate Snodgrass and Askold Melnyczuk for making this a reality and to the dedicated committee of the Festival.”
Founded in 1981 at Boston University by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is an award-winning professional theatre dedicated to new works. At the core of its programs is the Playwriting MFA offered at Boston University in the celebrated English Department in the College of Arts & Sciences and in collaboration with the award-winning School of Theatre in the College of Fine Arts. Alumni playwrights have been produced in regional and New York houses as well as in London’s West End, and their works have garnered national, regional, and Boston awards, including numerous Best New Script Awards from the Elliot Norton committee and the Independent Reviewers of New England. BPT’s Season of New Plays employs the best of New England’s professional actors, directors, and designers to bring each playwright’s vision alive.
Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL, OBE, OCC (23 January, 1930 – 17 March, 2017) was a Saint Lucian poet and playwright. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was the University of Alberta's first distinguished scholar in residence, where he taught graduate and undergraduate writing courses. He also served as Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from 2010 to 2013. His works include the Homeric epic poem Omeros (1990), which many view "as Walcott's major achievement." In addition to winning the Nobel Prize, Walcott received many literary awards over the course of his career, including an Obie Award in 1971 for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen's Medal for Poetry, the inaugural OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize for his book of poetry White Egrets and the Griffin Trust For Excellence in Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award in 2015.