Derek Walcott Square is a public square, situated between the cathedral and the library. In 1993 it was named after Sir Derek Walcott, KCSL, OBE, OCC (1930-2017), the famous Nobel Prize winning poet. Before that it was Columbus Square.
Sir Derek was born in Castries, of English, Dutch and African descent. Poetry was always his first love and he was inspired by the poets, T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. He published his first poem when he was 14. He secured a scholarship to the University College of the West Indies and later became a teacher in Trinidad, also working as a critic and journalist and writing his own plays. He later taught at the universities of Boston, Alberta and Essex. He won The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1988.
In 1990 he wrote his epic poem, Omeros (transferring the Iliad and Odyssey to a West Indian island), which won him the W.H. Smith Literary Award in 1991, and on 8 October 1992 the Nobel Prize for Literature, in competition with Günter Grass and Marguerite Duras. He also was wrote three dozen plays. Having wandered round the world for many years, he settled in Saint Lucia. In 1999 he nearly became Poet Laureate, but lost to Carol-Ann Duffy, partly because he was not British. When he died on 20 March 2017, he was accorded a state funeral in the cathedral.
The playwright, Timberlake Wertenbaker (b. 1951), wrote: ‘Derek Walcott has done for the West Indies what James Joyce did for Dublin.’