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What kind of dedication and love for reading does it take for a person to read aloud nonstop for five days? Olawunmi Bayode is the man to ask.

On February 26, at exactly 1:30pm (in celebration of World’s Books Day), he began reading aloud and did not stop until 120 hours later, enough time to read 17 books and win the Guinness world record for longest marathon reading aloud. He broke the record set by Nepal’s Deepak Sharma Bajagain in 2008.

It might interest you to know that he has good taste. According to This is Africa, some of the books he read included Toni Kan’s The Carnivorous City, Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s Independence, Leye Adenle’s Easy Motion Tourist, Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday, and President Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. For those of you wondering, Bayode did take one two-hour break each day.

His reading was a public event held at the Herbert Macaulay Library in Yaba. This is Africa reports that he was sponsored by the GTBank YouRead Initiative, the same Corporate Social Responsibility project responsible for Dusty Manuscript Contest.

The responses from Nigerians have been overwhelmingly positive. All the major news outlets carried the story. Congratulatory messages poured on Twitter and Facebook from fans. Former Vice-President Atiku expressed excitement at the news.

Bayode has since said that he took on the daunting task out of a love for reading but also to encourage young people to read.

Congrats to Bayode!

 

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Twitter | @iread_bayode

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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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