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Special opportunity on campus to hear from Nobel Prize winner in literature

By Antoinette Mercurio

Derek Walcott

One of the world's most famous poets, Nobel laureate Derek Walcott will be visiting Ryerson for a special reading on Nov. 25.

A Nobel laureate will visit the university on Nov. 25.

Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize winner in literature, and one of the world's most highly regarded poets, is giving a special reading Thursday in LIB-72 at 7 p.m. Organized by the Departments of Architectural Science, English and the graduate program in literatures of modernity, the free event is open to the public and will include a question and answer session.

Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1992 "for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment."

"We're delighted to host Derek Walcott at Ryerson, said Alan Shepard, provost. "He has had a profound influence on contemporary literature and is a magical storyteller. We look forward to welcoming him, and I am pleased that our community will have a chance to hear him."

For Dennis Denisoff, chair in English, Walcott's reading is especially relevant for Ryerson students.

"Not only is Walcott's writing taught in the English department, but Caribbean literature and culture is also a major component of the course offerings in the Faculty of Arts and elsewhere. Of equal importance, the opportunity for Ryerson to engage with a world-renowned artist such as Walcott will help enhance our students' sense both of the world beyond Toronto as an integral part of their lives and responsibilities, and of their local community as itself a place of diversity and unlimited talent and potential," Denisoff said.

Walcott was born in Saint Lucia in 1930 and has had a long and prolific career. He's known for his poetic works that incorporate the symbolism of myth and its relationship to culture, often employing the themes and imagery of magic realism. Walcott's work often illuminates the complexity of his own identity as he reconciles his African heritage, the English language and his commitment to his home, the Caribbean. He is perhaps best known for his epic poem Omeros, which is a loose adaptation of Homer's famous works. Walcott is also an accomplished playwright. In 1959 he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop which continues to produce his plays, as well as others', today. His most recent poetry collection White Egrets was released in early 2010.

Ryerson has offered a master's in literatures of modernity since 2008. The program provides students an English degree with a thematic and experiential spin. Students can complete an original major research paper on a chosen topic or a practicum at a literary institution.

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