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Lemn Sissay

(1967-), Author, poet and playwright

Sitter in 1 portrait
British-born of Ethiopian descent, Sissay said of his time growing up in social care that he was “dehumanised”. Writing poetry for solace, he self-published at 17. Denied access to his files at 18, he was sent a document revealing his true identity and a 17 year old letter from his mother to social services pleading for his return. He staged The Report (2007), in which a psychologist's report about his early life and how it affected him was read out live to him and an audience. It detailed the abuse he suffered in social care and his psychiatric diagnoses. He was the first official Olympic poet (2012), is Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Associate Artist at the Southbank Centre, a Foundling Fellow, and the recipient of two honorary doctorates and an MBE.

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Lemn Sissay, by Madeleine Waller - NPG x131827

Lemn Sissay

by Madeleine Waller
C-type colour print, 24 July 2006
NPG x131827

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