Duration 60 Mins

We are delighted to welcome Lemn Sissay to Cúirt to perform from his latest collection Let the Light Pour In. For the past decade, Lemn Sissay has composed a short poem as dawn breaks each morning. Life-affirming, witty and full of wonder, these poems chronicle his own battle with the darkness and are fuelled by resilience and defiant joy. Let the Light Pour In is a collection of the best of these poems, and a book celebrating this morning practice. 

BAFTA-nominated, award-winning writer and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay OBE has authored many collections of poetry and plays and his memoir My Name Is Why was a number one Sunday Times bestseller. Come, listen, and be inspired.

‘How do you do it?’ said night
‘How do you wake up and shine?’
‘I keep it simple,’ said light
‘One day at a time’

This event will be captioned.

Author Biographies

If you google the name ‘Lemn Sissay’ all the returning hits will be about him. There is only one Lemn Sissay in the world.     

At 18 Lemn published a book  called  ‘Perceptions of The Pen’.  He sold it to the miners and mill workers of Lancashire where he lived.  They supported him.  His first book of poetry ‘Tender Fingers In A Clenched Fist’ was published by Bogle L’Ouverture (Low-vat-your) in London to national recognition,  when he was just 21. The Guardian interview by kate Muir  trumpeted “ You don’t have to go to Oxbridge to write poetry”. Lemn spent the next few years wondering where this  University of Oxbridge was.  

He has been a writer by profession all his adult life and his  books are published now by Canongate Books. His memoir ‘My name Is Why’ is a number one  Sunday Times bestseller and won the Indie Book Awards non-fiction prize in 2021.  His children’s book ‘Don’t Ask The Dragon’  was released to acclaim in 2022.  Jaqueline Wilson said ‘every nursery should have one’.  

He is a poet, playwright, memoirist, and broadcaster. He has performed throughout the world from The Library of Congress in The United States to  the national Theatre of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, from  the Opera House of Dubai to  London Palladium in England and…. Not forgetting Wigan Library,  in….Wigan. 

He was awarded The Pen Pinter Prize in 2019. He is artistic advisor to The Manchester International festival and was  Guest Director of Brighton Festival in 2020 and 2021.    Between 2019 and 2021 his television documentaries have been nominated for Grierson BAFTA and RTS awards. In 2021 The BBC broadcast ‘Imagine: The Memory of Me” which was their second TV documentary about his life.  The first was ‘Internal Flight’  in 1995.  And the third ‘My Life at Christmas” was broadcast in December 2022.  His work in radio has been nominated for Sony and Palm D’Ors and  his next series “Lemn Sissay’s One and Only” is broadcast on BBC radio 4 in March 2023.    

In 2021 he helped select the work for Hold Still a project spearheaded by The Princess of Wales.   Hold Still became a Sunday Times Bestseller. .  In 2020 Lemn voiced Old Possum’s Book of practical cats for The TS elliot Foundation.     

His Landmark Poems in public spaces can be seen throughout Manchester and London in places  such as The Royal Festival Hall and The City of London.   They  can also be found at The British Council in Addis Ababa.   In 2021 alongside Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine Gallery  Lemn co-curated Poet Slash Artist which included artists and poets such as  Lubaina Himid and Tracy Emin for Manchester International Festival 2021 

Lemn has worked in music.   In 2021 his poems were part of a concerto performed at the BBC Proms in  The Royal Albert Hall.  He featured on the Leftfield album Leftism and their 2022 album It’s What We Do. On the 20th Anniversary of the album in 2018 Leftfield toured the country to a sell-out tour from Brixton Academy to Manchester’s Apollo. In 2017 he featured on Traveller by Baaba Maal.  A violin Concerto at The BBC Proms was inspired by his poem Advice For The Living.  Another poem ‘Spark Catchers’  featured in the 2017 concerto by Chineke at The BBC Proms written by Hannah Kendal!  It was the most viewed concert in the history of BBC Proms.   

Lemn read at Sir Paul McCartney’s Book launch at Queen’s Theatre in The West End.  Lemn performed as Scully in Jim Cartwright’s Road at The Royal Court.   In 2018 Julie Hesmondhalgh read his psychologists report for a court case he was bringing against the government.  ‘The report at the royal Court’  sold out in 24 hours and became national news.  Lemn has written a series of plays. ‘Something Dark’ won a race in the media award. On  the national curriculum as a choice text  his stage adaption of Benjamin Zephaniah’s Refugee Boy is published by Oberon Books.  

He has been  shot by some great  photographers including Steve McCurry, Rankin and Aida Muluneh. His painting  hanged in The National Portrait gallery.  In 2020 he was the sitter for the final of Sky Arts Portrait of the year award 2020.  He was writer in residence at The Southbank Centre under the artistic director Jude Kelly from 2006 to 2012.    He was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics 2012.   He was the first artist in residence on Robben Island in Cape Town alongside South African Musicians and poets for the Out loud tour. They lived in the island and slept in the prison officers quarters.   They created their tour in the officers mess hall.  

He has judged many literary competitions including 2020 Booker Prize, The Gold Man Booker Awards, The National Poetry Competition, The Forward Prize, The Ted Hughes Prize, Cardiff International poetry competition, The Creative Future Literary Awards, and the Bridport Prize.  

In  2013 Lemn started The Christmas Dinners in Manchester. The Christmas dinners are a celebration for Care Leavers on Christmas Day.  In 2022 there were 28 Christmas Dinners across the country. In 2015 he brought a legal case against the government for critical mistakes in the first eighteen years of his life. The government settled out of court in 2018.  

Lemn  was Chancellor of The University of Manchester from 2015 to 2022. He is  trustee of The Foundling Museum and trustee of  The Gold From The Stone Foundation.  He is   patron of The National Association for the Teaching of English.  University of Manchester runs The Lemn Sissay Law bursary.  University of Huddersfield runs the Lemn Sissay PhD scholarship for Care Leavers.  He is grateful to the donors of both universities for funding these scholarships. 

He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester, Brunel, Kent,  Essex and Leicester. He is visiting fellow at Jesus College Cambridge and a lifetime fellow of Mansfield college Oxford. He is hon chair of creative writing at University of Manchester. December 2022 he received the Special recognition award at Manchester Culture Awards.   In January 2023 he was one of less than ten people requested to take  Freedom of The City of London. The Alumni includes Nelson mandela and King Charles.   In September 2023 a book. of his morning tweets will be released by Canongate Books and his adaption of  Franz Kafka 


Event Location

Town Hall Theatre

1 Courthouse Square, Galway, H91 VF21

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Access Statements Cúirt

The main auditorium is step free with accessible seating and
accessible toilet facilities. Please let the box office know of any
requirements so that they can assist with seating. There are two
accessible parking spaces on Waterside immediately by the
venue and a further two spaces on Corrib Terrace. There is a
Loop System in every auditorium. There is a Fresh Air Distribution
System. All events at the Town Hall Theatre will be captioned.