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Body found in search for missing poet Gboyega Odubanjo

Body found in search for missing poet Gboyega Odubanjo


A headshot of the poet Gboyega Odubanjo
Image caption,Gboyega Odubanjo was last seen early on Saturday at the festival in Kelmarsh, about 10 miles west of Kettering

A body has been found in the search for an award-winning poet who went missing at a rural music festival.

Gboyega Odubanjo was last seen at the Shambala Festival in Northamptonshire at about 04:00 BST on Saturday.

The 27-year-old, from Bromley in south London, had been due to perform at the event in Kelmarsh on Sunday, but did not turn up for his set.

Formal identification was still to take place but Mr Odubanjo’s family had been informed, Northamptonshire Police said.

The body was discovered during a search of an area in Kelmarsh just before 09:00 BST. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

His godmother, Antonia Onigbode, said his disappearance had been a “shock to entire family”, when speaking to BBC Radio Northampton on Wednesday.

Gboyega Odubanjo
Image caption,Northamptonshire Police issued a photo of Gboyega Odubanjo at the Shambala Festival, where he was last seen

She said Mr Odubanjo was an “exceptionally gifted person” with “a bright future ahead of him”.

Shambala Festival added it was “heartbroken” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Police dogs, specially trained search officers, Northamptonshire’s Search and Rescue, a police dive team and local officers all looked for the poet.

Award winner

Mr Odubanjo’s pamphlet, Aunty Uncle Poems, was a winner of the Poetry Business New Poets prize in 2020. He had also been the recipient of an Eric Gregory award from the Society of Authors and a Michael Marks pamphlet award.

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He had been studying for a PhD in creative writing at the University of Hertfordshire.

The University of East Anglia (UEA), where Mr Odubanjo studied between 2014 and 2019, called him a “well loved and respected member of UEA’s Arts and Humanities community”.

Gboyega Odubanjo
Image caption,Mr Odubanjo was “well loved and respected”, his former university said

Shambala, which takes place at Kelmarsh Hall west of Kettering, hosts poetry performances as well as those by musicians, comedians and speakers.

Det Ch Insp Johnny Campbell said: “We would like to thank all those involved in the search efforts. We would also like to thank all those who have supported our investigation by speaking to officers or getting in touch with information.”

A file would be prepared for the coroner, police said. Copyright BBC NEWS