Wigan poet Lemn Sissay ‘over the moon’ to receive Freedom of the City of London
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The writer, who was made an OBE in 2021 and was the official poet for the 2012 London Olympics, was honoured during a ceremony at Guildhall on Friday.
One of the City of London’s ancient traditions, the Freedom is believed to have begun in 1237 and originally enabled recipients to carry out their trade.
He said: “I am over the moon to be awarded the Freedom of the City of London.
“It gives me great joy to be recognised by the great city which I live in and I love, and which has been such an inspiration to me.
“It all feels like a wonderful dream, or from a storybook.”
He came to national attention in 1988 with his second book of poetry, Tender Fingers In A Clenched Fist.
In 1995, he made a BBC documentary Internal Flight about his life.
His one-man show Something Dark detailed how he was given up as a baby and the drama was adapted for BBC Radio Three in 2006, winning the UK Commission for Racial Equality’s Race in the Media Award.
Wendy Hyde, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s culture, heritage and libraries committee, said: “Lemn is an internationally-renowned writer and broadcaster and this award celebrates his compelling contribution to the capital.
“We are delighted to award Lemn his Freedom in recognition of his inspirational work.”