“I am not defined by my scars but by the incredible ability to heal”
Lemn Sissay was seventeen when he wrote his first poetry book, which he hand-sold to the miners and millworkers of Wigan. Since then his poems have become landmarks, sculpted in granite and built from concrete, recorded on era-defining albums and declaimed in over thirty countries.
He has performed to thousands of football fans at the FA Cup Final, to hundreds of thousands as the poet of the London Olympics, and to millions across our TV screens and the airwaves of BBC Radio. He has become one of the nation’s best-loved voices.
“Lemn Sissay is a passionate and powerful voice whose performances are humbling and exhilarating”
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“Hugely enjoyable, inventive, funny and touching”
“One of the most original, challenging poets writing in Britain today, and his extraordinary, heart-breaking, courageous life story is the stuff of legend … The collection showcases his breadth, his passion, his anger and his humanity … Full of light and hope … A prodigious talent”
daily Mail, Poetry Of The Year
“A tremendous selection of his poetry … His gift as a writer - of plays, poetry, documentaries - is for turning life’s base metal into gold”
“This volume of selected and new poems traces [Sissay’s] path from gifted adolescent to accomplished poetic voice, railing with passion and prowess against the “quiet violence of the day-to-day”“
Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA-nominated, award-winning writer and broadcaster. He has authored collections of poetry and plays and his memoir My Name Is Why was a number one Sunday Times bestseller. His Landmark poems are visible in London, Manchester, Huddersfield and Addis Ababa. He has been made an Honorary Doctor by the universities of Manchester, Kent, Essex, Huddersfield and Brunel, and in 2019 he was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize. He received an MBE in 2010 and an OBE in 2021 for services to literature and charity. In 2023, Sissay was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. He is British and Ethiopian.
@lemnsissay | lemnsissay.com
If you haven’t yet listened to the Guardian’s new podcast The Start, about artistic beginnings, then you’re missing out. Our own Lemn Sissay was on talking about his poem ‘Invisible Kisses’, the early relationship that inspired it, and how as a child he was separated from his mother and his name. You can listen to the full episode, and the poem itself is included in Gold from the Stone.