Gboyega Odubanjo: Police appeal to find missing Bromley poet

Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, was attending the Shambala festival in Northamptonshire
Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, was attending the Shambala festival in Northamptonshire

Police are appealing for information to help find an award-winning London poet who has been missing since the weekend.

Gboyega Odubanjo was last seen in the Kelmarsh area of Northamptonshire at around 4am on Saturday, August 26. He had been due to perform at the Shambala festival later that day.

Mr Odubanjo is from Bromley, east London, and is studying for a PhD at the University of Hertfordshire.

According to Northamptonshire Police, he is 5ft 6in with short black dreadlocks and a full-face beard. He wears glasses and was last seen wearing a beige or cream bucket hat, a red and white striped gilet with black clothing underneath, black trousers and dark-coloured shoes.

"Gboyega is a loving and caring son who means the world to our family," his relatives said in a statement.

"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."

Mr Odubanjo’s pamphlet, Aunty Uncle Poems, was a winner of the Poetry Business New Poets prize in 2020.

He was the recipient of an Eric Gregory award from the Society of Authors and a Michael Marks pamphlet award.

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

The appeal for information has been shared widely on Twitter and Instagram, with poets and writers including Bernardine Evaristo, Victoria Adukwei Bulley and Tice Cin adding their voices.

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

“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. His future is so bright and we must rally together, over nature walkers, press, civilians and more to bring him back to where he is loved and safe.”

Northamptonshire police has said that the force is pursuing “all lines of enquiry”. Odubanjo’s friends and family are in the process of organising a search party.

Anyone with information is asked to call Northamptonshire police on 101, quoting reference number MPD1/2619/23.