Lemn Sissay on Do I Have News For You: His Most Famous Poems

Lemn Sissay is an internationally known author who is known for his extraordinary poems.

The 53-year-old academic will appear next to the comic Jo Brand on Friday evening (May 14). Do I have news for you?

We take a closer look at his poetry career, his private life and much more …

What is Lemn Sissay famous for?

Lemn is best known for his poetry. At the age of 17 he used his unemployment benefit to publish his first poetry brochure. And published his first volume of poetry when he was only 21 years old.

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He has been a professional writer since his 20s. In 1995 he made the documentary Internal Flight about his troubled upbringing and in 2006 his drama Something Dark became an award-winning BBC Radio 3 series.


Lemn Sissay on the ITV News (Image Credit: ITV)

He gained significant international recognition in 2012 when he was named Official Poet at the 2012 London Olympics.

He received his MBE in 2010 and was appointed Chancellor at the University of Manchester for a seven-year term in 2015.

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In 2014 he was made a Fellow of the Findel Museum.

You can recognize him by his media appearances like Grumpy Old Men, The South Bank Show, and his episode for Desert Island Discs.

In 2019 he was awarded the prestigious PEN Pinter Prize. And last year he joined the Booker Prize jury.

Lemn Sissay BBC
Lemn recites a poem (Credit: BBC)

Who is he married to? Does he have kids?

Lemn never married and no children. However, in an interview for The guard In 2016, he seemed open to the possibility.

While the journalist stated: “He never married and no children.

“He said he would never do that until he found his birth family. But in his late twenties he did and he’s now in contact with his mother who lives in New York. So yes, he says, he would like to settle down with someone; he would love children. “

Does Lemn Sissay have a Ted Talk?

Yes, Lemn made powerful speeches for both Ted and TedX.

His Ted speech is called A Child of The State and covers his tumultuous childhood and quest to improve the lives of children in foster care.

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Lemn is a poet and academic (Credit: ITV)

Therefore, in his speech, he calls on the government and carers to treat every child in care as “our child”.

And to offer them the best opportunities for a successful transition into the adult world.

Who are Lemn’s parents?

Lemn was born in England to an Ethiopian mother, Yemarshet Sissay.

She traveled to the UK to study to become unexpectedly pregnant.

Lemn was accepted into foster families shortly after his birth. He was part of a stable but religiously strict family until he was 12 years old.

But then moved from 12 to 18 between nursing homes.

Speak with The guard He said, “I was cared for for 18 years.

“The care system should be a place where 18 years is a gift because you have all the resources, the best education, the best psychotherapeutic work, and it has actually been 18 years of betrayal, secrets, lies, beatings and imprisonment.”

As an adult, he looked for his mother and got back together at the age of 21.

She worked at the United Nations in Gambia. She now lives in Manhattan, New York.

Years later, however, Lemn uncovered the documents his mother had submitted in order to take him back into her care.

But tragically it was ignored by social services.

Heartbreakingly, he never met his birth father.

The poet went on Twitter last year and revealed, “My birth father was a pilot. He is in pilot uniform at the end of this photo. He died in the early 1970s. We never met. Ethiopian Airlines is my favorite airline. “

Lemn Sissay’s books

Lemn has published many books over the course of his literary career. His published works include: “My Name Is Why”, “Gold vom Stein”, “Listener” and “Morning Breaks in the Elevator”.

* Lemn is in the Friday episode of Have I Got New For You on BBC One at 9 p.m.

It can be streamed on BBC iPlayer shortly after it first aired.

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