Omeros is an epic poem by Caribbean writer Derek Walcott, first published in 1990. The work is divided into seven "books" containing a total of sixty-four chapters. Many critics view Omeros as Walcotts "major achievement." Soon after its publication in 1990, it received praise from publications like The Washington Post and The New York Times Book Review, the latter of which chose the book as one of its "Best Books of 1990" and called it "one of Mr. Walcotts finest poetic works." The book also won the WH Smith Literary Award in 1991. In 1992, Walcott was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the Nobel committee member who presented the award, Professor Kjell Espmark, singled out Walcotts most recent achievement at the time, Omeros, recognizing the book as a "major work". Walcott painted the cover for the book, which depicts some of his main characters at sea together in a boat. In 2004, the critic Hilton Als of The New Yorker called the book "Walcotts masterpiece" and characterized the poem as "the perfect marriage of Walcott’s classicism and his nativism". The poem very loosely echoes and references Homer and some of his major characters from The Iliad. Some of the poems major characters include the island fishermen Achille and Hector, the retired English officer Major Plunkett and his wife Maud, the housemaid Helen, the blind man Seven Seas (who symbolically represents Homer), and the author himself. Although the main narrative of the poem takes place on the island of St. Lucia, where Walcott was born and raised, Walcott also includes scenes from Brookline, Massachusetts (where Walcott was living and teaching at the time of the poems composition) and the character Achille imagines a voyage from Africa onto a slave ship thats headed for the Americas; also, in Book Five of the poem, Walcott narrates some of his travel experiences in a variety of cities around the world, including Lisbon, London, Dublin, Rome, and Toronto. The island of Saint Lucia was historically known as "the Helen of the West Indies" during the 18th century because colonial control of the island frequently changed hands between the French and English who fought over the island due to its strategic location vis-a-vis North America. In reference to this appellation, Walcott sometimes personifies the island like its a character referred to as "Helen," symbolically tying the island to both the Homeric Helen as well as to the housemaid Helen.