Poet Gboyega Odubanjo missing after failing to turn up to perform at a Northamptonshire festival

ANGLIA 300823  Still of Gboyega Odubanjo 
Credit: northants police
Gboyega Odubanjo was last seen on Saturday. Credit: Northamptonshire Police.

Concerned friends and family are appealing for help to find an award-winning poet who failed to turn up to perform at a festival.

Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, was booked to perform at the Shambala Festival on Saturday afternoon but did not appear for his set, and was reported missing by friends.

Police said he was last seen in the Kelmarsh area of Northamptonshire at around 4am on that day.

In a statement, his family said: “Gboyega is a loving and caring son who means the world to our family.

“He is currently studying for his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire; He has a warm and infectious personality, a contagious smile, and a heart full of kindness.

“We believe that Gboyega’s disappearance is entirely out of character for him, and we are genuinely worried for his safety and wellbeing.

“We are reaching out to the community, friends, and all compassionate individuals who may have any information that could lead to his safe return.

“No piece of information is too small, and your help could be the key to bringing him back to us.”

The last known sighting of Gboyega Odubanjo was at the Shambala Festival. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

Mr Odubanjo’s best friend, Tice Cin, described him as an “acclaimed poet” and “highly anticipated novelist”.

“My best friend Gboyega Odubanjo, light of my life and acclaimed poet, highly anticipated novelist, the best son and brother,” she said. “We need help bringing him home, nobody deserves to go missing in a society with all the resources to find our loved ones.

“In a society that is structurally unequal when it comes to missing black people (black people account for 14% of missing people in England and Wales, four times the relative population of black people in England), we need to work tirelessly to find Gboyega.

“Help us to find this brilliant kind man, the type of man who you can ring at 3am when your back is hurting, and you can’t sleep.”

Mr Odubanjo's pamphlet, Aunty Uncle Poems, won the Poetry Business New Poets prize in 2020, as well as the 2021 Eric Gregory award.

Police said the poet, who is from the Bromley area of London, is 5ft 6ins tall, with short black dreadlocks and a full-face beard.

He was last seen wearing a beige bucket hat, a red and white striped gilet with black clothing underneath, black trousers and dark coloured shoes.

The Shambala Festival is held at a country estate in Northamptonshire, and includes music, poetry, arts and culture performances.

Anyone who sees him is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101, quoting reference number MPD1/2619/23. 

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