Lemn Sissay OBE is a poet playwright, memoirist, performer and broadcaster.
In 2021, Lemn was awarded OBE for his services to Literature and Charity. He has honorary doctorates from Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester, Brunel, Kent, and Essex, and is Chancellor of The University of Manchester.
His memoir My Name Is Why was awarded The Pen Pinter Prize in 2019 and reached number one in The Sunday Times bestseller list. In 2021, the book won the Non-Fiction prize at the Indie Book Awards. In 2015, Lemn brought a legal case against the government for critical mistakes in the first eighteen years of his life. The government settled out of court in 2018.
Lemn was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics in 2012 and his Landmark Poems in public spaces can be seen throughout Manchester and London at venues such as The Royal Festival Hall.
His TV documentaries have been nominated for BAFTA and RTS award and his work in radio has been nominated for Sony and Palm D’Ors. In 2021, his poems were part of a concerto performed at the BBC Proms. Lemn has read on stage throughout the world, at prestigious venues such as The Library of Congress in the US, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, the Opera House of Dubai and The London Palladium.
He has judged many literary competitions including 2020 Booker Prize, The Gold Man Booker Awards, The National Poetry Competition, The Forward Prize, The Ted Hughes Prize, Cardiff International poetry competition, The Creative Future Literary Awards, and the Bridport Prize.
"Lemn Sissay is a passionate and powerful voice whose performances are humbling and exhilarating" Kae Tempest
"We are aware of being in the grip of a master of the spoken word and a highly charismatic performer" Metro