Writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay will receive OBE at Windsor Castle

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

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

Mr Sissay, whose mother arrived in Britain from Ethiopia pregnant with him in 1966, spent her youth in foster homes and children’s homes, an experience that features in her literary work.

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


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

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 his election as Chancellor of the University of Manchester in 2015.

While in that role, he set up a scholarship program to increase the number of black law students in 2017.

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

In 2019, he received the PEN Pinter Award for authors who take an “unwavering and unwavering” view of the world.

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

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

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

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