Wole Soyinka is a Nobel laureate, but becoming the Professor of Poetry at Oxford University comes with a whole new kind of prestige.

For 300 years, poets of great renown have vied to hold what many say is “the top academic poetry role in the UK.”

Oxford Professor of Poetry is an elected post, but the candidates first have to be nominated by Oxford graduates. Where a minimum of 50 nominations are needed to place a candidate in the running, Soyinka, who is running against 5 other candidates, received a staggering 149 nominations. But that’s only phase one.

The real battle begins during the voting phase. Oxford students and graduates are eligible to vote. But they must be registered [HERE] by June 8. From then on, voting continues up until June 17, after which the winner will be announced two day later.

Everyone from Ben Okri to Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has expressed support for Soyinka. He is one of the greatest living poets. It would be an honor for Oxford University to be associated with Soyinka at such a high level.

Soyinka has since commented on the whole affair. The UK guardian reports that he is excited about the prospect of holding such a highly esteemed position and looks forward to dispensing the requisite duties if he wins.

We are wishing Soyinka the best of luck.

You can help by sharing this post and getting the word out. Tell your friends who are students at Oxford or graduates to vote for our man!


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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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