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Lemn Sissay

Kirsty Young talks to writer, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Lemn Sissay.

As a poet, writer and playwright, much of his work tells the story of his search for his birth parents. Born to a young Ethiopian woman who wanted him temporarily fostered while she completed her studies, he was with a family until he was 12. He would spend the next five years in a number of children's homes where he began to write. On leaving care at 17, he self-published his first book of poetry while on the dole.

Several poetry collections, plays and programmes for radio and TV followed and his work has taken him around the world. He was the first poet to be commissioned to write for the 2012 London Olympics and his success has also brought him two doctorates and an MBE for services to literature. He is about to be installed as Chancellor of the University of Manchester, an elected post he will hold for the next seven years. He takes writers' workshops for care-leavers and set up Culture World, the first black writers' workshop.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

35 minutes

Last on

Fri 16 Oct 2015 09:00

Music Played

  • Yegna feat. Aster Aweke


    • HALENGA.

    • Nils Frahm


      • Spaces.
      • Erased Tapes Records.
  • The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

    Amazing Grace

    • Spirit of the Glen".
    • Universal Music Operations Ltd / Decca.
  • Henryk Mikołaj Górecki

    Symphony No 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), 2nd movement

    Performer: Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra of Katowice. Performer: Jerzy Katlewicz.
    • H Gorecki: symphony No. 3.
    • OLYMPIA.
  • Annie Lennox


    • The Annie Lennox Collection.
    • SONY.
  • Aretha Franklin

    Bridge Over Troubled Waters

    • Aretha Franklin: 30 Greatest Hits.
  • Prince

    Nothing Compares 2 U

    • Prince: The Hits 1.
  • B.B. King

    Better Not Look Down

    • B.B. King: His Definitive Greatest Hits.

    The Koran


    Pen and paper


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Lemn Sissay
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 11 Oct 2015 11:15
  • Fri 16 Oct 2015 09:00

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