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Samuel Selvon

Samuel Selvon was born in San Fernando, Trinidad in 1923. Following the Second World War, he worked in Port of Spain as a journalist for the Trinidad Guardian. He lived in Great Britain from 1950 to 1978, a period during which he published most of his novels and wrote radio scripts that were broadcast by the BBC. In 1978, he moved to Canada where he lived until his death in 1994 during a return trip to Trinidad. In 2012 the NALIS (National Library of Trinidad and Tobago) posthumously awarded him a Lifetime Literary Award.


A Brighter Sun

London: Longman Trade, 1979.


Housing Lark: A Novel

Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1990.
PR9272.9 .S4 H68 1990

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Battersby, the hero of Selvon’s fifth novel, is a West Indian exile in London who encounters both hardships and amusing situations in his search for adequate and reasonably priced shelter. In Housing Lark Selvon explores the plight of the West Indian in the “Mother Country,” and the exiles’ interactions with English women, the British in general, and each other. First published in 1965.


An Island is a World

Toronto: TSAR, 1993.
PS8587 .E5 I85 1993

Publisher’s Synopsis


The Lonely Londoners

With an introduction by Kenneth Ramchand.
Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1985, c1956.
PS8587 .E5 L6 1985

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

… from the brilliant, sharp, witty pen of Sam Selvon, this is a classic award-winning novel of immigrant life in London in the 1950s.


Moses Ascending

London: Penguin, 2008, c1975.
PS8587 .E5 M67 2008


Moses Migrating: A Novel

Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1983.

With an introduction by Susheila Nasta.
Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009.
PS8587 .E5 M6 2009

Publisher’s Synopsis

It has been more than 25 years since Moses Aloetta became one of the “Lonely Londoners” in the novel of that name. Now–though an avowed Anglophile–he hankers for Trinidad, for sunshine, Carnival, and rum punch. With characteristic irony and delicacy of touch, Sam Selvon tells the story of Moses’s reencounter with his native land.

Awards and Honours

1984 Georges Bugnet Award for Novel-Alberta Literary Awards (Writers’ Guild of Alberta)(Winner)


Those Who Eat the Cascadura

Toronto: TSAR, 1988.
PS8587 .E5 T46 1990


Turn Again Tiger

Introduction and study questions by Sandra Pouchet Paquet.
London: Heinemann, 1979, c1958
PS8587 .E5 T87 1979

Publisher’s Synopsis

[This] is a sequel to Samuel Selvon’s first novel, A Brighter Sun.  The chief character remains the same and the themes of the earlier work are extended as well.  A Brighter Sun is set in the suburban village of Barataria.  It explores the growing consciousness of Tiger, a newly arrived youth from an estate village in the sugar belt of Chaguanas.  This novel is concerned with Tiger’s quest for manhood and with the process of creolization which Tiger and his young bride, Urmilla, undergo in multi-racial Barataria away from the influence of their parents.

Fiction (Short stories)

Ways of Sunlight

With a critical introduction by Jane Grant
Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1987, c1957.
PS8587 .E5 W3 1987

Publisher’s Synopsis

The master-storyteller turns his pen to rural village life in Trinidad: gossip and rivalry between the village washerwomen; toiling cane-cutters reaping their meagre harvest; superstitious old Ma Procop protecting the fruit of her mango tree with magic. With equal wit and sensitivity, he reflects the depression of hard times in London, where people live in cold, damp basements, hustling for survival.


Eldorado West One

Leeds: Peepal Tree Press, 1988.
PS8587 .E5 E43 1988


Highway in the Sun And Other Plays

Leeds: Peepal Tree Press, 2008.
PR9272.9 .S4 H5 1991

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Agarwal, Supriya. “Conflict and Resolution: Selvon’s The Plains of Caroni.” In Writers of the Caribbean Diaspora: Shifting Homelands, Travelling Identities. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2008, 152-163.
PR9205 .W75 2008

Beyond Calypso: Re-reading Samuel Selvon. Edited by Malachi McIntosh. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers, 2016.
PS8587.E5 Z24 2016

Clarke, Austin. A Passage Back Home: A Personal Reminiscence of Samuel Selvon. Toronto: Exile Editions, 1994.
PS8587.E5 Z588 1994

Critical Perspectives on Sam Selvon. Edited by Susheila Nasta. Washington: Three Continents Press, 1988.
PS8587 .E5 Z6 1988

Forbes, Curdella. From Nation to Diaspora: Samuel Selvon, George Lamming and the Cultural Performance of Gender. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2005.
PR9210 .F67 2005

Joseph, Margaret Paul. “Caliban the Calypsonian: The Ballad of Sam Selvon” In Caliban in Exile: The Outsider in Caribbean Fiction. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
PR9205.4 .J67 1992

Mathur, Charu. “Creating an Independent Reality: Sam Selvon’s An Island is a World.” In Writers of the Caribbean Diaspora: Shifting Homelands, Travelling Identities. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2008, 164-174.
PR9205 .W75 2008

Royar, M. Supriya. “Race of Races in Sam Selvon’s Those Who Eat the Cascadura.” In Writers of the Caribbean Diaspora: Shifting Homelands, Travelling Identities. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2008, 142-151.
PR9205 .W75 2008

Salick, Roydon. Samuel Selvon. Tavistock, England: Northcote/British Council, 2013.
PR9272.9 .S4 Z885 2013

Sindoni, Maria Grazia. Creolizing Culture: A Study on Sam Selvon’s Work. New Delhi: Atlantic, 2006.
PS8587 .E5 Z74 2006

Wong, Mitali P. and Zia Hasan. “Identity and the Indo-Caribbean Experience: Themes, Genres, and Characters in the Fiction of V.S. Naipaul and Samuel Selvon.” In The Fiction of South Asians in North America and the Caribbean. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2004.
PS153 .S68 W66 2004

Wyke, Clement H. Sam Selvon’s Dialectal Style and Fictional Strategy. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1991.
Electronic book (Access restricted to the Toronto Metropolitan University community)

Zehnder, Martin, ed. Something Rich and Strange: Selected Essays on Sam Selvon. Leeds: Peepal Tree, 2003.
PS8587 .E5 Z76 2003