Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, Nigerian linguist, teacher, and writer, has been named as the recipient of the Premio Ostana International Award for Scriptures in the Mother Tongue, 2016 (Il Premio Ostana Internazionale Scritture in Lingua Madre 2016).
For the first time in the history of the award, it is going to an African author.
Organized by the Culture of the Chambra D’Oc in the town of Ostana (Cuneo, Italy), the prize is given for the defence of an indigenous language, and for educational and informative activities by the recipient to protect it.
The eighth edition of the prize ceremony will be held from June 2 to June 5, 2016 in Italy, in collaboration with the Municipality of Ostana.
Past winners of this international prize include Jaques Thiers (2015), Lance David Henson (2014), Mehmet Altun (2013), Harkaitz Cano (2011), Witi Tame Ihimaera (2010), among many notable others.
Túbọ̀sún was born in Ìbàdàn, Nigeria, in September 1981, and studied Linguistics at the University of Ibadan before proceeding to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for his MA in (2012). He was awarded a Fulbright fellowship/scholarship in 2009.
In early 2012, he founded the Tweet Yoruba Movement and the annual ‘Tweet Yoruba Day’ to pressurize Twitter into making the platform useable for Yorùbá speakers, and to create awareness for the usage of Yorùbá on the internet respectively.
In August 2014, Twitter facilitated Yorùbá translation. Túbọ̀sún has been an active translator on several internet portals previously available only in English and the world’s ‘main languages’.
Whilst working as an English teacher in Lagos, Nigeria, Tubosun’s many feats include helping to record the first translation of The Nigerian Constitution in Yorùbá.
One of the project’s initial accomplishments is to release a free tone-marking keyboard software to allow more appropriate writing of Yorùbá on the internet and save it from extinction. He is currently the head of lexicography on the project, among other advisory roles.
In recognition of his work and dedication, in October 2015, he was appointed as Speech Linguistic Project Manager at Google (Nigeria). This role involves helping the company realise a number of language-related goals on the continent and around the world.
As a writer, Tubosun has published fiction, non-fiction, and poetry online and in print, in Africa and beyond. He has been published in Sentinel Poetry Quarterly, Concelebratory Shoehorn Review, Sentinel Nigeria, Klorofyl, Saraba Magazine, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Subjective Substance, Farafina, 234Next, International Literary Quarterly, The Moth, The Alestle (SIUE), College of Arts and Science publication (CAS), Eye Socket Journal, Nigerianstalk.org, Guardian UK, Ake Review, Saraba Magazine, Jalada Magazine, and several other publications. His chapbook of poems Attempted Speech & Other Fatherhood Poems was released for free download in September, 2015.
He has translated (and continues to translate) literary and non-literary work from English to Yorùbá and from Yorùbá into English. His translation of Sarah Manyika’s short story ‘A Woman in the Orange Dress’ was featured in the Cassava Republic’s multimedia Valentine Anthology in February 2015. His non-fiction piece, Class Sessions, was published in the Jalada Magazine’s Language Issue (September, 2015). He has also published translated works in Yorùbá for the International Literary Quaterly, Aké Review, and elsewhere.
Tubosun has also worked as a literary editor with NTLitMag (2012-2015) and Aké Review (2015). His travel blog, KTravula.com, was recently nominated for the CNN/Multichoice Africa Journalists (2015) honour. He has also been listed as one of the 100 Nigeria’s Most Innovative Persons in Technology.
He lives in Lagos, Nigeria, with his wife and son.