Jun 15, 2022

By Christine Ross

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British Columbia doctor-turned-writer Tolu Oloruntoba has been named the Canadian winner of this year’s Griffin Poetry Prize.

He received the $65,000 honour for his debut collection “The Junta of Happenstance” that draws on his medical knowledge to dissect illness, immigration and colonialism.

The former Nigerian physician now works as a health care manager in Vancouver. In their citation, jurors said the “exquisite poems leave an imprint both violent and terrifyingly beautiful.”

Oloruntoba recently emerged as a name to watch in the Canadian literary scene. his debut collection also won the English-language poetry prize at the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Awards.

The international prize also worth $65,000 went to American Douglas Kearney. The Griffin is billed as the world’s largest prize for a first-edition single collection of poetry written in or translated into English.

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