Internationally-renowned performance poet, writer and broadcaster, and Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Lemn Sissay MBE is author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays.
Sissay was the first poet commissioned to write for London Olympics. His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London. They can be seen in The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. His Landmark Poem, Guilt of Cain, was unveiled by Bishop Desmond Tutu in Fen Court near Fenchurch St Station. Lemn is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox Club and The Reader Organisation, ambassador for The Children’s Reading Fund, trustee of Forward Arts Foundation and inaugural trustee of World Book Night and an honorary doctor of Letters.
He has been a writer from birth and foremost he is a poet. His new book Gold From the Stone will be published in August 2016. His 2015 Desert Island Discs was made pick of the year for 2015 Sissay’s installation poem ‘what if’ was exhibited at The Royal Academy alongside Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley. It came from his Disko Bay Expedition to the Arctic alongside Jarvis Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Leslie Feist and KT Tunstall. His 21st century poem was released on multi-million award winning album Leftism by Leftfield. A violin concerto performed at The BBC by Viktoria Mullova was inspired by Lemn Sissay’s poem Advice For The Living. He was the first Black Writers Development Worker outside of London. He created and established Cultureword (part of Commonword) where Sissay developed supported and published many new writers who’ve gone on to a life of creativity.
Sissay received an MBE from The Queen for services to literature and an honorary doctorate from University of Huddersfield and Univeristy of Manchester. University of huddersfield run The Sissay PhD Scholarship for care leavers: the first of its kind in the UK.