Tag Archives for " lemn sissay "

Jan 13

Inspirational People: Lemn Sissay, the Man

By Mark Attwood | Inspirational People

How do I even begin to describe this man? I’ve known him for 24 years and he’s one of the most courageous people I’ve ever met. Lemn Sissay is one of the world’s finest poets. His work is embedded in the streets of Manchester and London. Apart from being an MBE, he was also my best man and Godfather to my first born. He’s crazy, wild and brilliant. He connects with people in a way that I have never seen anyone else do.

I hope you enjoy our little chat in a noisy pub in London:

and here he is on TED at the Houses of Parliament:


Dec 16

Big Up for Lemn Sissay – an inspiration

By Mark Attwood | Family & Stuff

Regular readers of this blog may be deluded into thinking that all forms of inspiration for me come from business shenanigans.

No so.

One man who has always inspired me, and always believed in me, is Lemn Sissay.

Lemn was best man at our wedding. He was my soul mate throughout our twenties back when lager, kebabs and last night fights were a regular occurrence. We both grew up (sort of). Now he lives in the smoke continuing his career/calling as a truly inspirational and brilliant writer and performer.

Lemn was recently made an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Huddersfield University. Here’s Lemn alongside Theo Paphitis.

This is an extraordinary achievement, especially when you know what Lemn has been through to get to this elevated status in society.

He was fostered as a child and grew up as the only black person in Atherton, Lancashire, in the 1970s. He was dumped uncermoniously at the age of 11 by his foster parents, then put into a succession of children’s homes. When he found out his true identity as an Ethiopian called Lemn, he painted the Ethiopian flag on the ceiling of his room. This earned him 12 months in a detention centre.

He escaped to Manchester as a 17 year old and started performing the poetry that was ripping through his soul.

Soon after. he traced his true roots. His father was a pilot from Ethiopia and had died in 1973 in a plane crash. The BBC made a documentary about this called “Internal Flight”:

Even if you have no interest in poetry, you cannot be failed to be moved by Lemn’s work. Here he is doing some of his stuff:

I am so pleased that he is being recognised for his brilliance in this way. You deserve it all my friend.Thanks for everything.

Apr 29

Me, Lemn Sissay and Desmond Tutu

By Mark Attwood | Family & Stuff

I was reminded today of an article that appeared in the New Statesman in February 09 about the internationally renowned poet, writer and performer Lemn Sissay in which he is asked who his advisers would be if he was World Leader.

I was flattered to be included in Lemn’s list along with people like Desmond Tutu, Henry Normal, Marcus Brigstock, Desmond Tutu and the Gummy Bears from Avenue Q.

The only reason for me being in this list is mine and Lemn’s history as brothers in arms over the past 20 years. He is a truly amazing man, which is why I was honoured to have him as best man at my wedding. The fact that he borrowed £20 and tried to pull me into every pub during the walk towards the church made me love him even more. He’s also my son Joe’s unofficial God Father (unofficial because I’m not sure about the whole Church thing). Lots of people see him as the voice of black Britain and as a very high-quality, serious writer. He’s also a big goon who never fails to make me laugh. Search him out on amazon and read his stuff. It’s brilliant.

My friend, co-conspirator and videographer Alex Roberts was so tickeld by the article that he sent me a photoshop of Lemn and his “advisors” faces superimposed on the G20 summit picture, which I share with you here:

World Leader Lemn Sissay and his advisors, including Mark Attwood

World Leader Lemn Sissay and his advisors, including Mark Attwood

Lemn is currently writer-in-residence at the South Bank and assures me this picture is up on the wall in his office. You can read the article here.