Selvon, Samuel (1923–1994) By Davis, Thomas S.
Samuel Selvon was a Trinidadian writer whose vivid portraits of daily life in both the Caribbean and post-Second World War England garnered international acclaim. Selvon’s episodic storytelling, vernacular narration, and stylistic inventiveness have led critics past and present to classify his writing alongside both his modernist predecessors, and his postcolonial contemporaries. Selvon was born in Trinidad in 1923 to an East Indian father and an Anglo-Scottish mother. In his own words, he grew up as a ‘Creolized West Indian’. He worked as a wireless operator for the Royal Naval Reserve during the Second World. After the war ended in 1945, Selvon relocated to Port of Spain and began his early forays into journalism, contributing to The Trinidad Guardian and serving as the fiction editor for The Guardian Weekly. Selvon’s early stories and sketches, now collected in Foreday Morning, demonstrate his early preoccupation with the details of everyday life, a preoccupation that cuts across his writings. In 1950, somewhat disenchanted with what he called the ‘very complacent and easy going’ Trinidadian life, Selvon migrated to England on a boat that also carried the Barbadian novelist George Lamming.