What I want to do today on the occasion of this celebration of the work of the late Sam Selvon quite simply is to try and locate the context in which this arrival of writers from the Caribbean took place in London in the 1950s. Can you imagine waking up one morning and discovering a stranger asleep on the sofa of your living room? You wake this person up and ask them 'What are you doing here?' and the person replies 'I belong here'. This was exactly the extraordinary predicament quite ordinary English people found themselves in when they awoke one morning and saw these people metaphorically on the sofas of their living rooms and the people -meaning the authorities - who had brought these strangers into the 'native's living room' had not asked permission or invited consultation about this invitation.
Lamming, George, The Coldest Spring in Fifty Years: Thoughts on Sam Selvon and London, Kunapipi, 20(1), 1998.