Lemn Sissay MBE awarded PEN Pinter Prize 2019
4 June 2019
Poet, performer playwright, artist and broadcaster Lemn
Sissay has been awarded the PEN Pinter Prize 2019. He will receive the
award at a public ceremony at the British Library on the evening of
Thursday 10 October, where he will deliver an address.
Lemn Sissay is an award-winning poet, writer and popular
broadcaster. He is the author of seven poetry collections
including, most recently, Gold from the Stone, as well as a number
of plays. He was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the
University of Huddersfield and the University of Manchester, and
was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2010. He was the
official poet for the London 2012 Olympics and his Landmark poems
can be found in London, Manchester, Huddersfield and Addis Ababa.
Sissay is patron of the Letterbox Club, supporting children in care
and in 2018 his documentary Superkids was nominated for a BAFTA
award. He is currently Chancellor of the University of Manchester.
He is British and Ethiopian.
The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by the
charity English PEN, which defends freedom of expression and
celebrates literature, in memory of Nobel-Laureate playwright
Harold Pinter. The prize is awarded annually to a writer of
outstanding literary merit resident in the United Kingdom, the
Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold
Pinter's Nobel Prize in Literature speech, casts an 'unflinching,
unswerving' gaze upon the world and shows a 'fierce intellectual
determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our
A limited edition booklet of Lemn Sissay's
British Library address will be published by Faber & Faber and
available to the audience at the event. Tickets will be on sale
soon at the British Library website.
Jamie Byng of Canongate Books who have
published Lemn's work for over two decades tweeted his
congratulations saying that Lemn is one of his favourite people on
the planet. Lemn's
memoir, My Name is Why, will be published by
Canongate Books on 29 August 2019.