Governor General’s Literary Awards

Book cover for The Junta of Happenstance, by Tolu Oloruntoba

The Junta of Happenstance

by Tolu Oloruntoba

Anstruther Books / Palimpsest Press

“Tolu Oloruntoba’s voice in The Junta of Happenstance is at once thoughtful and authoritative, metaphorically rich and lyrically surprising. Oloruntoba’s language travels through history and myth to speak to today and engage with a future transformed by new understanding. The combination of craft and spirit cuts a fine place for this debut work, expanding our literary view.”

—Peer assessment committee: Kaie Kellough, George Murray and Anna Marie Sewell

Synopsis

Personal, primordial, and pulsing with syncopated language, Tolu Oloruntoba’s poetic debut, The Junta of Happenstance, is a compendium of dis-ease. This includes disease in the traditional sense, as informed by the poet’s time as a physician, and dis-ease as a primer for family dysfunction, the (im)migrant experience, and urban/corporate anxiety. In the face of struggles against social injustice, Oloruntoba navigates the contemporary moment with empathy and intelligence, finding beauty in chaos, and strength in suffering. The Junta of Happenstance is an important and assured debut.

Picture of Tolu Oloruntoba

Biography

Tolu Oloruntoba lived in Nigeria and the United States before settling in the metro area of Coast Salish lands known as Vancouver. After spending his early career as a primary care physician, he currently manages virtual health projects. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, while his debut chapbook, Manubrium, was a bpNichol Chapbook Award finalist. The Junta of Happenstance is his first full-length collection of poetry.

Photo: Fractal Studio

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