Wole Soyinka loses Oxford professor of poetry post to British poet

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has lost the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry to a fellow contender Simon Armitage.

Armitage, a popular British poet and broadcaster, secured 1,221 votes, 301 more than his rival, Soyinka.

Names like John Carey and Melvyn Bragg supported Armitage, although Bragg had previously supported Soyinka but later publicly switched his allegiance to Armitage.

Vanguard reports that Soyinka was an early favorite for the post after garnering by far the highest number of nominations but in a twist of fate, Bragg took a back step last month and publicly withdrew his support for Soyinka and switched allegiance to Armitage, claiming Soyinka was too old and insufficiently committed to the job.

He said Soyinka, a US-based Nigerian who turns 81 next month, has not written much poetry recently. “I now wonder how often he would bother to come to Oxford. Soyinka is a grand man and would regard it as a grand post. I also query his age,” he said.

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