Selvon, Samuel Dickson

Selvon, Samuel Dickson
▪ 1995

      Trinidadian-born Canadian author (b. May 20, 1923, Trinidad—d. April 16, 1994, Trinidad), was an important West Indian writer who, with V.S. Naipaul, was in the vanguard of the Caribbean literary renaissance in London during the 1950s; he was best remembered for the 1956 classic novel The Lonely Londoners, a picaresque account of the initial exhilaration and excitement experienced by black West Indians living in post-World War II London tempered by discrimination, poverty, and a sense of exile. After serving (1940-45) in the Royal Navy Reserve as a wireless operator on patrol boats in the Caribbean Sea, Selvon worked as a reporter with the Trinidad Guardian newspaper while establishing a reputation as a gifted short-story writer. After moving to London (1950) he published his first book, A Brighter Sun (1952), which explored racial tensions between black Africans and Indians living in the West Indies. Selvon established a rich oral tradition in novels featuring painstaking attention to dialect, one of the hallmarks of his writing style. He was also praised for his vivid, if not ribald, descriptiveness and his colourful accounts of local life. His other important works include the short-story collection Ways of Sunlight (1957) and such novels as I Hear Thunder (1963), The Housing Lark (1965), Moses Ascending (1975), and Moses Migrating (1983). The latter two novels were sequels to The Lonely Londoners. In 1978 Selvon adopted Canada as his home, but he traveled to Trinidad in early 1994 to promote a reprinting of one of his books.

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Universalium. 2010.

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