Kọ́láwọlé Olúgbémiró Ọlátúbọ̀sún Ọládàpọ̀
22 September 1981 (age 39)
|Other names||Kola Olatubosun|
|Known for||Yorùbá Name Project, Nigerian English Google Assistant, Writing|
|"Edwardsville by Heart", a collection of poetry|
Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún is a Nigerian linguist, writer, translator, scholar, and cultural activist. His work and influence span the fields of education, technology, literature, journalism, and linguistics. He is the recipient of the 2016 Premio Ostana "Special Prize" for Writings in the Mother Tongue. (Ostana Premio Scritture in Lingua Madre) for his work in language advocacy. He writes in Yoruba and English.
Tubosun was born in Ibadan, Nigeria on September of 1981. He holds a Masters in Linguistics from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2012) and a BA from the University of Ibadan (2005). He also studied briefly at Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya, in April 2005, as part of a MacArthur Foundation-sponsored Socio-Cultural Exchange Program.
He was a Fulbright scholar from 2009 through which he taught Yoruba at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville until 2010. His debut collection of poetry/travelogue "Edwardsville by Heart" covers this period. In 2010, while still in the US, he worked as a volunteer adult literacy tutor, with resettled immigrants, at the International Institute of St. Louis, Missouri. In 2012, he completed a Masters in Linguistics/TESL and returned to Lagos, Nigeria to take up a job as a high school teacher of English language.
Since 2015, he has worked as a linguist, first at Google Nigeria as a Speech Linguistics Project Manager (2015-2016) and later from February 2019 to December 2019 as a Project Manager for Natural language processing tasks in African languages.
His work of advocacy during this period has focused on the role of African languages in today's world, especially in technology, education, literature, governance, and entertainment. He founded the "Yorùbá Names Project", a lexicography project, to show how technology can help in revitalizing local languages. As a writer, he has produced work in travel writing, travel poetry, essays on literature, scholarly writings, journalism, and fiction.
Linguistics, lexicography, and language advocacy
Tubosun is renowned for his work in linguistics and language advocacy. He has written extensively on the need to empower Nigerian languages, and Nigerian English, to function effectively in education, technology, governance, and literature. He has also engaged in projects in furtherance of these objectives.
In March 2015, he founded the "Yorùbá Names Project" at YorubaName.com as an effort to document all names in Yoruba in an accessible multimedia format. The project also released a free Yorùbá Keyboard software for Mac and Windows to allow its users type in Yorùbá language and Igbo on the internet.
Tubosun's team at Google Nigeria was behind the Nigerian English voice/accent on Google platforms. The voice was launched in July 2019. His collaboration at Google was helpful in getting Nigerian language diacritics into GBoard, and also correcting the mistranslation of the Esu, the Yoruba trickster god, on Google Translate. He has also worked with Google Arts & Culture on some of its exhibits in Nigeria and Kenya.
In 2017, he collaborated with OrishaImage to create Yorùbá Melody, a multilingual 90 minutes free Yorùbá language "audio phrasebook for Olórìṣà and cultural tourists." The audio phrasebook was released in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. In August 2019, a fourth language was added: German.
In honour of UNESCO's declaration of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Tubosun, through The YorubaName Project in collaboration with Rising Voices created @DigiAfricanLang, a twitter rotation curation account featuring scholars and professionals working in African language documentation and revitalization across the continent.
Creative and Travel Writing
Tubosun has contributed to Nigerian creative writing since 2005, through poetry, travel writing, essay, prose, travel writing and literary criticism. His work has appeared in the International Literary Quarterly, Sentinel Poetry, Brittle Paper, Ake Review, Popula, NTLitMag, and Enkare Review. In 2010, he contributed to 234Next as a travel writer.
He worked as the pioneering editor of a Literary Magazine of new writing from Nigerian and Africa called NTLitMag, from 2012 to 2015. In November 2015, he co-edited as well as Aké Review, the literary publication of the Aké Arts and Book Festival, with Kolade Arogundade. From 2015–2016, while he taught as a schoolteacher, he edited two issues of The Sail, an anthology of creative works of high school students.
In 2016, he wrote the entry on Nnedi Okorafor's science fiction novel Lagoon for "Imaginary Wonderlands" (October, 2016), a collection of essays about invented worlds in literature from around the globe, from Dante to Rushdie. The book was edited by Laura Miller (writer).
After writing an illuminating travel profile on Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka in 2018, Tubosun was awarded the 2019 Morland Writing Scholarship to write a biography of the writer, Africa's first Nobel Laureate in Literature.
Tubosun writes poetry in Yoruba and English. His chapbook Attempted Speech & Other Fatherhood Poems was first published by Saraba Magazine in 2015. An earlier one Headfirst into the Meddle was published in 2005.
In 2018, his first full collection of poetry "Edwardsville by Heart" was published. It is a book described as "a magical meeting place of travelogue, memoir, and poetry," covering a period of three years when the author lived in the midwestern United States. It is "a quiet, reflective book", "by far a rather enjoyable read." Petero Kalulé calls him "a poet who writes so freely, so playfully, so beguilingly about the everyday and its “effing possibilities.” JM Schreiber says it has "an uncluttered vision—emotionally contained and all the more powerful as a consequence."
The book was selected as one of "Africa's Must Read Books of 2018"
Tubosun has translated literature into Yoruba, his mother tongue. He has also argued for more literary translations into African languages as a way of revitalizing the languages. His translation of a short story by Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o into Yoruba was published in the Jalada Language Translation project in March 2016. In 2019, his translation of a short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was published in the Absinthe Journal.
Since 2005, he has translated, into English, some of the poetry of his father, Yoruba language poet, Olatubosun Oladapo. Since 2019, he has participated in workshops on the same project with the Poetry Translation Centre in London.
In January 2016, Tubosun was chosen as a recipient of a Premio Ostana "Special Prize" for Mother Tongue Literature (Il Premio Ostana Internazionale Scritture in Lingua Madre 2016), a prize given to any individual who has done writing and notable advocacy for the defence of an indigenous language. The prize ceremony was held from 2 to 5 June 2016, in the town of Ostana (Cuneo, Italy). Tubosun was the first African to be so honoured by the organisation.
In October 2015, he was nominated for the CNN African Journalists Award for his travel piece Abeokuta's Living History, first published at KTravula.com. He was the first ever blogger on the award shortlist.
- 2017 Ventures Africa "40 Under 40" Innovators for 2017.
- 2017 Saraba Magazine Manuscript Contest
- 2016 100 most innovative people in technology
- 2016 Quartz African Innovator's List.
- 2015 Nigeria's most innovative people in technology
- Edwardsville by Heart (ISBN 9780993550232) Wisdom's Bottom Press, UK, 2018
- Attempted Speech and Other Fatherhood Poems (Poetry Chapbook) Saraba Magazine, 2015.
- Edo North: Field Studies of the Languages and Lands of the Northern Edo (Ed., 2011). Essays in Honour of Professor Ben O. Elugbe. Zenith Book House.
- NTLitMag: 29 Issues (2012-2015)
- Olofinlua, Temitayo (25 May 2015). "Nigerian Scholar Creates an Online Home for Yoruba Names". Global Press Journal. Global Press. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015.
With the help of volunteers and crowdsourcing contributors, he is creating an online compendium of Yoruba names with meanings and aural pronunciations.
- ""A Stroll with Kola Tubosun, Teacher, Writer, Linguist and Founder, YorubaName.com"". Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "Writing a New Nigeria: Ideas of Identity" Archived 5 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, BBC Radio 4,
- Florence Utor (31 January 2016). "Tobosun Receives International Award For Mother Tongue Literature 2016". The Guardian. Nigeria. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016.
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- "Giunge a conclusione l'ottava edizione del Premio Ostana". Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "#WeLoveBooks | Edwardsville by Heart by Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún". Brittle Paper. 29 October 2018. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- TechCabal (4 February 2019). "Kola Tubosun (@kolatubosun) is returning to Google as project manager for Natural Language Processing Tasks, and we're hoping this would help improve the local experience with Google products.pic.twitter.com/lhPj1CLSwz". @TechCabal. Archived from the original on 10 November 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
- "African Literature through the Language Lens: The Yorùbá Example - Asian and African studies blog". blogs.bl.uk. Archived from the original on 1 February 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
- "Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún Appointed Programme Director of Yorùbá Academy". Open Country Mag. 11 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
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- "Yorùbá Academy appoints Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún programme director". 10 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
- "On Lionheart's Oscar ban: Is Nigerian English a Foreign Language?". African Arguments. 6 November 2019. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
- Egbunike, Nwachukwu (2013). "Nigerians Shake Up Twitter with Yoruba-Language Tweets". Global Voices. Archived from the original on 24 April 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
- Oluwafemi, Bankole (2 March 2012). "Twitter Promises Support For Yoruba in Coming Months". TechLoy. Archived from the original on 5 April 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
- "Twitter Can Now be Translated into Yoruba". Encomium. 4 December 2014. Archived from the original on 14 September 2015.
- Bankole, Oluwafemi (14 November 2014). "It Took Only Two Years, But Twitter Is Finally Getting Translated into Yoruba". TechCabal. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015.
As we speak, Kola and others are working to translate the Twitter's standard glossary of terms.
- Elusoji, Solomon (21 April 2015). "Cultural Export". This Day Live/AllAfrica. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
An online Yoruba dictionary has been launched to help the Yoruba race in Nigeria go beyond borders.
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- "Yoruba keyboard layouts for Windows and Mac". Radar from TechCabal. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
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- "Combined Igbo, Yoruba keyboard made available on Yorubaname.com". 18 July 2016. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
- Kazeem, Yomi. "How Google created a Nigerian voice and accent for Maps". Quartz Africa. Archived from the original on 31 July 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
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- "Google's new Nigerian accent". Public Radio International. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
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- "New advocates for the ancient gods of Nigeria". The Mail & Guardian. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
- ""Èṣù" isn't "the Devil"; But You Knew That Already". Yoruba Name. 16 December 2016. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Esu Is Not Satan 2016 Awareness". Ọmọ Oòduà. Archived from the original on 24 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
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- "Release notes: Nigerian English". Oxford English Dictionary. 13 January 2020. Archived from the original on 27 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
- "Yorùbá Melody Audio Course". Orisha Image. Archived from the original on 11 January 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- Túbọ̀sún, Kọ́lá (28 August 2019). "In December 2017, we launched this 90-min Yorùbá language learning audiobook in three languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and English). We've now added a fourth language: German:https://soundcloud.com/yorubamelody/yoruba-melody-audio-course-deutsch …". @kolatubosun. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "Twitter @DigiAfricanLang 2019". Rising Voices. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
- "Review of The Sail | An Anthology of Writings by Students in a Lagos Secondary School" Archived 20 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Brittle Paper, 24 August 2015.
- "First Breath From Whitesands: A review by Tade Ipadeola" Archived 14 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Sabi News, 3 July 2015.
- "The Sail: Whitesands Schools Launch 2nd Edition of Students' Creativity Compendium". Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Whitesands students bring magic in the second edition of 'The Sail'". Sabi News. 25 May 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
- "Our students literary works yielding results". National Mirror. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "Whitesands School Celebrates the Next Generation of African Writers". Brittle Paper. 1 June 2016. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- AkeArts&BookFestival (27 July 2019). "We are delighted to welcome Kola Tubosun @kolatubosun Dami Ajayi @ajayidami and Wana Udobang @MissWanaWana onto the Ake Arts & Book Festival Advisory Board. Thank you for all the incredible things that you do for the Arts on the African continent. We see you". @akefestival. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
- "Gala Seller Who Gave out his goods to prisoners meets Humans of New York Founder, Shares his experience as a prisoner". KanyiDaily. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
- "'Humans Of New York' Is In Lagos, Documenting The Stories Of Fascinating People". Konbini - All Pop Everything! (in French). Archived from the original on 4 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- "Humans of New York visits Lagos". Popula. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- "A House for Mr. Soyinka". Popula. Archived from the original on 12 September 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- Reporter, Our (5 December 2018). "Tubosun gets 18,000pounds for winning Morland scholarship". The Nation Nigeria. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- "The 4 Winners of the 2018 Miles Morland Scholarships". Brittle Paper. 28 November 2018. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- Udodiong, Inemesit (27 November 2018). "Meet the 2018 winners of the Morland Writing Scholarship". www.pulse.ng. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- "#WeLoveBooks | Edwardsville by Heart by Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún". Brittle Paper. 29 October 2018. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
- roughghosts, Author (24 May 2019). "Chanelling memories through verse: Edwardsville by Heart by Kólá Túbòsún". roughghosts. Archived from the original on 1 June 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
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- Africa, Arts And (20 February 2019). "Edwardsville by heart by Kólá Túbòsún: A book Review". Medium. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- Schreiber, JM. "Chanelling memories through verse: Edwardsville by Heart by Kólá Túbòsún". Rough Ghosts.[dead link]
- "Africa's must-read books of 2018". African Arguments. 13 December 2018. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- Túbọ̀sún, Kọ́lá (2019). "The Shivering". Absinthe. 26 (1).
- "The Jalada Translation Project » Nimdzi Insights". Nimdzi. 17 March 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
- Jalada (22 March 2016). "Jalada Translation Issue 01: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o". Jalada Africa. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
- "Absinthe: A Journal of World Literature in Translation". quod.lib.umich.edu. Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
- "Yoruba poetry workshop: Translating Túbọ̀sún Ọládàpọ̀ with Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún". www.poetrytranslation.org. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
- "KỌ́LÁ TÚBỌ̀SÚN becomes first African to win Premio Ostana international language award". Sabi News. 26 January 2016. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- NG, Mirror (26 January 2016). "Nigerian Man becomes first African to win the Premio Ostana International Award for Mother Tongue Literature". Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Okuyeme, Tony (29 January 2016). "Tubosun wins Premio Ostana International Award". New Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- "Dalla lingua Yoruba allo shar-chicham, nel borgo occitano di Ostana un festival per salvare le lingue minori". L'Huffington Post. 24 May 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "Scritture in lingua madre Un patrimonio da salvare". LaStampa.it. 3 June 2016. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- Adaokoye, Ukamaka (14 September 2015). "Kola Tubosun and four other Nigerians among finalists in the 2015 CNN Multichoice African Journalist". Olisa.TV. Archived from the original on 17 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- Oyetimein, Oluwapelumi (2016). "YNaija presents the class of 2016: Nigeria's 100 most innovative persons in Technology". YNaija. Archived from the original on 27 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Quartz Africa Innovators 2016 list". Archived from the original on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Stephen, Jewel (2015). "The class of 2015: Nigeria's 100 most innovative persons in Technology". YNaija. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Attempted Speech and Other Fatherhood Poems". Saraba Magazine. 30 September 2015. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Edo North: Field Studies of the Languages and Lands of the Northern Edo: Essays in Honour of Professor Ben O. Elugbe. SOAS. Zenith Book House. 2011. ISBN 9789784885584. Archived from the original on 13 November 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- Túbọ̀sún, Kọ́lá (7 January 2020). "29 LitMag Issues Online". Medium. Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
- Official website
- "A Father's Apprehensions and Fascinations: An Interview"
- "Yoruba & Esperanto are now open for translation in the Twitter Translation Centre"
- "A Multimedia Dictionary of Yorùbá Names", YorubaName.com.
- "Ideas of Identity", Writing a New Nigeria, BBC Radio 4.
- Kola Tubosun's Travel Blog