Sam Selvon

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Sam Selvon in 1952

Samuel "Sam" Selvon (May 20, 1923 –April 16, 1994) was a Trinidad-born writer.


  • People didn’t know what part of the world I came from and that was something that I felt ought to be corrected. Those days in England—in the fifties and so on—the only country in the Caribbean people spoke about was Jamaica. You never heard them talking about places like Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago and so on…
  • I’d rather stay in ignorance. Mark you, it may be true that I am repeating something that has been said before, but in the actual creation it wasn’t so to me, because in my ignorance I didn’t know. So I think that ignorance helps a lot. When you know that somebody has done something before, it hampers you.
  • I grew up in Trinidad speaking the way Trinidadians talk. That remained with me throughout all my years living abroad. I found that it was so much easier for me to express myself if I could use the Trinidadian form of the language rather than trying to speak “proper English”, as it’s called…
  • The American language is almost, in its way, a kind of experimental form, too, with the English language…

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