The Nyanza Literary Festival organisers have rescinded Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga’s Poetry Award.
The Kenyan poetry community never knew what hit it as the story of Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga broke on the interwebs. The reactions have been many with many embarrassed that someone could plagiarise for so long without being busted. This applies to readers who were enjoying his work, the online journals who were running his work as original as well as the prizes that shortlisted and even gave his awards for his unearned work.
It seems at least one organisation is standing up to be counted in this mess and doing something concrete. The Nyanza Literature Festival awarded Redscar his biggest paycheck as they gave him US$1,000 in August. They have now issued a statement rescinding his award. The statement reads in full;
In light of the plagiarism by Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga, as uncovered by the Missing Slate, and upon finding further evidence of the same on Redscar’s part, specifically the poems he submitted to NALIF as part of his portfolio, we, the NALIF Board, hereby, with immediate effect, rescind the Poetry Award given to him on August 27, 2016 in Kisumu City, Kenya.
Seven out of the eight poems that Redscar presented for the inaugural NALIF contest were stolen almost word for word, with only the title(s) and a few phrases altered. “A dua for the masses,” the poem published in the Missing Slate, was part of this collection.*
Plagiarism is an antithesis to the creative spirit we seek to foster, and a cruel act on fellow creatives who work for years to produce work that’s close to their hearts. To betray what we believe to be the fundamental rule of the writing profession is unacceptable to us.
We are tremendously saddened and disappointed by this turn of events. Further actions, and our path forward, will be announced after more consultations with the NALIF Board.
We will keep you posted as the story develops.