F. G. Sydney Selvon
Summary: Sydney Selvon (doctorate in History, major in journalism) is a multi-skilled professional with an in-depth knowledge of and experience in: editing (Canada, Australia, and Mauritius), writing and translation. He is an editorial adviser for a group of publications in Mauritius. He was editor of a 45,000-circulation newspaper in Mauritius before becoming moving to Canada and taking up editorial positions in the Sun Media/Bowes Publishers (Quebecor group) in Alberta, Canada, from 2003 to 2007. He worked also as Business Editor in the Northern News Services Group of newspapers (English language) in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, and was Editor of the Strathmore Standard, near Calgary, until 2007. He then moved to China and taught taught Business English to Chinese students at the Jiangsu College of Information Technology in a Sino-German business diploma project. His editing skills in addition to writing include the use of professional software such as InDesign or QuarkXPress, Photoshop, Acrobat Pro, etc.
Sydney has been active over decades defending journalists in the following positions: founder member and general secretary of the Association of Journalists of Mauritius; vice-president of the Mauritius Union of Journalists; member of the Commonwealth Press Union in the UK.
Sydney has written the first exhaustive historical account of Mauritius, covering five centuries, based on extensive research.
Current position: Consulting Editor for Yukondale Group of newspapers.
2007-2009: Foreign Expert teaching Business English in China at the Jiangsu School of Information Technology in Wuxi, China, near Shanghai in a joint Sino-German education project.
2003-2007: Editor in the Bowes Publishers Group, a division of Sun Media, itself part of Quebecor, in Canada. As such, was successively editor of community newspapers (Peace River Record Gazette and Strathmore Standard) in Alberta. Was, during a short interval in 2005-2006 Senior Business writer at Northern News group of newspapers in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, as such covering major mining discoveries and operations and other business and government matters. As editor at Bowes in Alberta, was each year engaged in coaching and rating journalism undergraduate interns (news/feature writing and reporting techniques) as part of their practicum at the Mount Royal University.
1998-2003: News Editor of News on Sunday, then Editor of the Financial News magazine, English language publications controlled by London-based British American Investments group (BAI).
1996-1998: Editor in the Rural Press Group, one of the large media groups in Australia.
1995-1996: Diplomatic assignment at the High Commission of Mauritius in Canberra, Australia.
1972-1995: Reporter, then, successively, news editor, features editor, deputy chief editor and editor from 1984 to 1995 of the largest newspaper in Mauritius: a daily with a circulation of around 45,000 in 1995. During that period and beyond, Sydney has been reporting on on freelance or on an ad hoc basis for The Indian Ocean Newsletter based in Paris, Associated Press New York and some radio stations in Reunion Island (France), the CBC in Canada and the BBC.
1976-1978: Local government councillor.
- Excellent writing skills English and French, writing books as well as writing news and features and opinion for newspapers and magazines on a wide range of topics and issues in the fields of politics, culture, history, international affairs, science, environment and more.
- Can edit, retouch and layout appropriate photos for news and features using Photoshop.
- Excellent layout skills including the design of front pages using InDesign (proficient also in QuarkXPress).
Primary schooling: St. Jean Bosco Roman Catholic Authority School in Mauritius.
Secondary/pre-tertiary: Royal College, Curepipe, Mauritius, obtaining: the Cambridge University’s School Certificate (UK) with Division One in English Language, English Literature, History, Mathematics, French Language, French Literature, Biology and Chemistry; the Cambridge University’s Higher School Certificate in four principal subjects (English, French, Biochemistry and History) and two subsidiary subjects (General Paper, and Public Affairs – British Constitution).
- In 1972, spent nearly six months in the United States to study journalism in as a U.S. State Department bursary in a Foreign Journalists Program at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. This included assignments at two U.S. newspapers, the Patriot Ledger near Boston, Mass., and the Portland Oregonian, in Portland, Ore. Also covered, during the course, the presidential election, and attended a U.N. General Assembly session in New York as well as a presidential press briefing at the White House.
- Holds a doctorate in History, major in Journalism (NWMD International University, South Africa).
Has written several successful books, as follows, in English and French, based on extensive archival research and a rich bibliography of research works, in English or French:
- « Vacoas-Phoenix. La genèse d’une ville». Vacoas, Mauritius. 1984. French
- « Ramgoolam ». Editions de l’Océan Indien, Rose Hill, Mauritius, 1986.French
- « Historical Dictionary of Mauritius”. 2nd Edition. Scarecrow Press, New Jersey and London.1991. English
- L’Ile Maurice, son peuple, ses cultures.” (co-authored with famous Mauritian author Abhimanyu Unnuth and Sorbonne educated Dr. Issa Asgarally). MSM Printing, Les Pailles, Mauritius. 1990. French
An English version, “Mauritius, Its People, Its Cultures,” was published at the same time.
- “Port-Louis Harbour,” a history of Port-Louis harbour in Mauritius from the time of Dutch colonization of the island. Port-Louis, Mauritius. 1991. Co-authored with A. Unnuth.
- “A Comprehensive History of Mauritius.” A detailed account spanning over half a millennium of history. Editions MDS, Port-Louis, Mauritius. 1st edition in 2001, 2nd edition, corrected and revised, 2003. 526 pages. English
- “While My Love Waited,” a short novel based on a real, but secret love story between British navigator Matthew Flinders, a married man, and an island beauty in the 1800s. Port-Louis, 2001.
- “L’histoire de Maurice. Des origines à nos jours,” 588 pages. French translation of ``A Comprehensive History of Mauritius``
- Translated to French British golfer Nick Wright’s book “Lower Your Golf Handicap in 10 Days” into French. Editions Solar, Paris, France. 2003.
- “A Dragon in Dodoland”, a rags to riches biography of a poor immigrant from China, Dr. Patrick Chui Wan Cheong, who became a successful medical practitioner and multimillionaire businessman in Mauritiius, land of the unique dodo species now extinct. A French version was written concurrently by Sydney Selvon under the title “Un Dragon chez les Dodos”. Mauritius, 2010. Launched by Prime Minister Dr. Navin Ramgoolam.
- Won the Nicolas Lambert Prize (Journalist of the Year) in 1980 in Mauritius and the Prix Marcel Cabon (Best Reporter award) in 1979, in Mauritius.
- Was founder and general-secretary of the Association of Journalists of Mauritius and then was a vice-president of the Mauritius Union of Journalists (MUJ).
- Was one of the organizers of a journalism training program for journalists in Mauritius in 1991-1992. The program was sponsored by the Mauritius government with the Commonwealth Journalists Union based in London.
- Has travelled several times to the U.K., the U.S., France and Canada (is a resident of that country) and visited, as a journalist, Italy, Germany, the Seychelles, Singapore, Taiwan, China, India, Madagascar, Kenya, Iraq, South Africa, Libya, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
- Has been founder member of Rotary clubs in Mauritius and Canada and is a past club president.
- Has played in a large band, playing clarinet, keyboard, guitar and saxophone.
- Has played soccer for a long time as an amateur. Likes also swimming and walking long distances.
- Dr. Issa Asgarally, doctor in linguistics (Sorbonne, Paris), writer and retired professor at the Mauritius Institute of Education, a state sponsored degree granting tertiary educational institution.
- Kent Keebaugh, Publisher, Daily Herald Tribune, Alberta, Canada.