Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize in 1992, writes most frequently about the Caribbean and its post-colonial history. In White Egrets, Walcott, 81, writes about aging, love and about being at large in the world. Anne Stevenson, chair of the judges, hailed White Egrets as a "moving, risk-taking and technically flawless book." The competition included works by British poet Sam Willetts, Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney and France's Pascal Petit.
Born in St. Lucia, Walcott has written more than 30 plays and 20 poetry books, among them Omeros and In a Green Night. He has cited Eliot as one of his influences. Walcott, currently a scholar in residence at University of Alberta in Edmonton, has also been nominated for the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Poetry) for White Egrets.