A body has been found in the search for a young poet who went missing at a music festival last weekend.
Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, from Bromley in south London, disappeared at the Shambala Festival in Northamptonshire on Saturday, August 26, 2023. He was due to perform his poems on Sunday but did not show up for his set.
His family and friends had launched a desperate appeal for him to come forward, saying that his disappearance was out of character and that they were extremely worried about him.
On Thursday, August 31, 2023, police officers who were conducting a specialized search of the area found a body shortly before 9 am. The police have not confirmed the identity of the body, but they have said that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Gboyega Odubanjo was a rising star in the poetry scene, having won several prestigious awards for his work, including the Poetry Business New Poets prize in 2020 and the Eric Gregory award in 2021. He also published his poems in various magazines and newspapers, such as The Guardian, The Poetry Review, and New Statesman.
His poems explored themes such as identity, culture, race and love, drawing on his Nigerian heritage and his experiences of growing up in London. He was praised for his lyrical and musical style, as well as his honesty and humour.
He had recently completed a PhD in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, where he was also a lecturer. His supervisor, Professor Andrew Motion, said that he was “a brilliant poet and a wonderful person” who had “a bright future ahead of him”.
His family and friends have paid tribute to him on social media, describing him as “a beautiful soul”, “a genius” and “a legend”. They have also thanked everyone who helped in the search and expressed their grief and shock at the tragic news.
The Shambala Festival organisers have also expressed their condolences and said that they were “deeply saddened” by the discovery of the body. They said that they would hold a memorial service for Gboyega Odubanjo at the festival site on Friday, September 1, 2023.
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