Writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay to receive OBE at Windsor Castle

The 54-year-old will be among a number of people receiving royal honours at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

16 March 2022

Award-winning broadcaster and writer Lemn Sissay will be among a number of people recognised with royal honours at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

The 54-year-old, who was the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics, will receive an OBE for services to literature and to charity.

Mr Sissay, whose mother arrived in Britain from Ethiopia pregnant with him in 1966, spent his early life in foster care and children’s homes, an experience which features in his literary work.

Throughout his career, he has seen the publication of nine of his books, the production of seven plays, and four further radio plays.

National Poetry Day
Poet Lemn Sissay in Downing Street on National Poetry Day last year (James Manning/PA)

Among his achievements are an MBE, which he received in 2010, and being elected chancellor of the University of Manchester in 2015.

While in the position, he set up a bursary scheme to boost the number of black law students in 2017.

He also became a member of the board of trustees of the Foundling Museum – which tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, Britain’s first home for children at risk of being abandoned.

In 2019 he was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize for authors who take an “unflinching, unswerving” look at the world.

Mr Sissay has appeared numerous times on television, including in the Southbank Show and BBC shows Grumpy Old Men, Winter Walks, and Have I Got News For You, as well as being a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme.

Others to be recognised include Nigerian-born but London-based novelist Irenosen Okojie, who will receive an MBE for services to literature.

Her first novel, Butterfly Fish, won the Betty Trask Award in 2016, while her story Grace Jones was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2020 – an accolade for the best short story by an African writer in the English language.

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