Wigan poet Lemn Sissay ‘over the moon’ to receive Freedom of the City of London

Poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay – who grew up in Wigan – has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

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.

Read More
Wigan borough man due in court as pensioner dies after house fire in Liverpool
Lemn SissayLemn Sissay
Lemn Sissay
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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.”

Sissay was born in May 1967 to an Ethiopian mother shortly after she moved to England to study, before being taken into long-term foster care in Wigan.

He came to national attention in 1988 with his second book of poetry, Tender Fingers In A Clenched Fist.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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.”