Jun 15, 2022
By Christine Ross
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.