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Poet Wole Soyinka misses out on Oxford professor role

MISSED OUT: Wole Soyinka

NOBEL LAUREATE Wole Soyinka has missed out on the second most prestigious poetry position in the UK after being beaten by English poet, playwright and novelist, Simon Armitage.

The Oxford professor of poetry role was won by Armitage who was backed by 58 names, reported The Guardian.

Amongst Armitage's supporters was writer Melvyn Bragg. Bragg had previously supported Soyinka, but later publicly switched his allegiance to Armitage, telling the Sunday Times of his concerns that the 80-year-old might not “bother to come to Oxford” if he were to win.

Soyinka hit back, and said: “How curious that anyone would even speculate that I would allow busy and committed people – friends, colleagues and total strangers – to waste their time nominating and campaigning on my behalf for such a prestigious position if I were not serious about contesting.”

Soyinka initially led the way with the most nominations in the early stage of the election.

Candidates need to be nominated by at least 50 Oxford graduates and the Nigerian academic had more than 90 nods.

The 80-year-old was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 and was the first African to receive the honour.

Armitage will be expected to deliver one public lecture per term, facilitating the “art of poetry in the university” with a salary of £12,000 a year.

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