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Lemn Sissay

38 Podcast Episodes

Latest 7 Nov 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Lemn Sissay: My Name is Why

Best of the Emirates LitFest

Lemn Sissay knows more than most what it takes to change the story. Until he was seventeen he didn’t even know his real name, having been brought up in a succession of foster families and care homes against his mother’s wishes. In his memoir My Name is Why, the award-winning writer and poet tells the story of his fight for justice and finding hope and creativity while caught in an uncaring and dangerous bureaucracy. In this wide-ranging and inspiring conversation, Lemn reflects on the response to his powerful book, his writing life and his discoveries about life and culture in difficult times.

1hr 8mins

12 Oct 2021

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Black Adopters with Lemn Sissay OBE

You Can Adopt

Today, we’re speaking to Jennifer, who has adopted her two sons with her husband. We’ll be talking about her adoption journey, as well as her experience of being a Black adopter. It’s an unfortunate fact that Black children and children of mixed-heritage wait the longest of any children to be adopted, and there are also a number of barriers and misconceptions that deter members of the Black community from taking the next steps to adopt. Some concerns people cite about adoption include housing, their finances, and worries about their age, marital status, as well as perceptions about how adopting might be perceived by the community. However, the key attributes for adopting a child are providing a loving, safe, stable home and factors such as occupation, working full time, salary and the size of someone’s home, are not important. Following fertility issues, Jennifer and her husband decided adoption would be the best option for them to start a family. Their oldest son is 6, and was adopted at 11 months, and her youngest son is 11 months, and was adopted 17 weeks ago. Both sons are of mixed-heritage (white and Black). We explore her initial decision to adopt, the process and unique challenges and rewards of adopting as a Black parent (Jennifer is Black British of Caribbean descent), and her family life now. Ultimately we hope to encourage more potential adopters from minority ethnic communities to come forward to explore and start an adoption journey to build a family for life for both themselves and their child/ren. Host Lemn Sissay has said he hopes people will always consider adoption, despite how hard it is. “Adoption is the greatest thing that a human being can do for another human being, in my opinion, because a child is going to test you emotionally, financially, politically, socially, on every level. An adoptive mother can love a child just as much as a woman who's had the child themselves.” The ultimate aim of the series is to understand adoption from the perspective of a wide range of people, including adoptees, adopters and birth parents. It is hoped that potential adopters will come to understand more about adoption and the potential richness of the adoption experience. PAC-UK is the country’s largest independent adoption support agency and works with all of those affected by adoption and other forms of permanent care to provide advice, support, specialist therapy and counselling. For more information please visit: www.PAC-UK.org or call 020 7284 5879.


28 Jul 2021

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Manc 50: Lemn Sissay - The Poetry Junkie

We Built This City: Greater Manchester

“Manchester had always been glinting on the horizon across the Lancashire plains.” Lemn Sissay, the world-renowned creative, grew up in the small villages of Lancashire, but always felt a magnetic pull drawing him to Manchester. In Manchester, Lemn found not only an oasis away from the deceit that tainted his childhood but discovered an opportunity to meet with fellow creatives that would inspire him to forge a new path for himself. Now a renowned poet, playwright, and speaker, Lemn has helped to shape a city that helped to shape him. As Chancellor of the University of Manchester and Artistic Advisor to the Manchester International Festival, Lemn champions our city and gives back to a community that he loves very much and that loves him back the same. Discover alongside Lisa Morton, the story of Lemn’s resilience and passion, his connection with Greater Manchester and his brilliant value system that continues to act as a compass for all that he does.  Lemn's peers that he shared the stage with also went on to build this city with their work, like Comedian John Thomson and Property Developer Tom Bloxham who have both been on previous episodes of this podcast, find them in our feed Manc 03 and Manc 32. ----- Your host, Lisa Morton, started PR company Roland Dransfield in 1996, one month after the fateful IRA bomb that tore apart the city centre. From that point, the business, and its team members, have been involved in helping to support the creation of Modern Manchester – across regeneration, business, charity, leisure and hospitality, sport and culture.  To celebrate the 24 years that Roland Dransfield has spent creating these bonds, Lisa is gathering together some of her Greater Mancunian ‘family’ and will be exploring how they have created their own purposeful relationships with the best place in the world.  Connect with Lisa and Roland Dransfield: Via Phone: 01612361122 Via our website On Instagram On TwitterOn Spotify Connect with Lemn: On Twitter On Instagram


2 Jun 2021

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Lemn Sissay | 'Its name was care'


In this episode, Laura talks to BAFTA nominated International prize winning writer Lemn Sissay. They discuss his experience of being taken from his birth mother against her will and put into care, and the ways that this affected him and his views of family in later life. CW: This podcast contains open, honest and often detailed discussions about mental health. This episode contains discussion of depression and abuse in the care system. #Zombiemum is produced by Bea Duncan. It was mastered by Rob Fincham, with original music by Hugo White. The artwork is by Mars West. The Executive Producer is Hana Walker-Brown. RESOURCES: Action on Postpartum psychosis The national charity for women and families affected by postpartum psychosis. Website: https://www.app-network.org Mind Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm) Website: www.mind.org.uk Samaritans Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) Website: www.samaritans.org.uk PAPYRUS Young suicide prevention society. Phone: HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays) Website: www.papyrus-uk.org YoungMinds Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals. Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm) Website: www.youngminds.org.uk


17 May 2021

Most Popular

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Shadow and Bone, Lemn Sissay, Gwendoline Riley

Front Row

We review new Netflix fantasy series Shadow and Bone. It's being touted as the new Game of Thrones but is it worth the hype? Children's and YA author Katherine Webber Tsang gives her verdict.This weekend the Brighton Festival opens and will be the first UK city festival since lockdown. Last year the guest director Lemn Sissay was ready to launch the festival when Lockdown restrictions meant the whole thing had to be cancelled. This year, he’s back as guest director again with a festival themed around Care – a personal theme to Lemn who spent his childhood in care, but also one that’s acquired unique resonance over the past year – and with over 94 separate events, installations, and performances across a mixture of outdoor, indoor and online platforms.Plus novelist Gwendoline Riley, who tells us about the process of writing her new novel My Phantoms about a mother and daughter's doomed attempts to communicate with oneanother.And last night, 24-year-old Jonathan Gibson became the youngest ever Mastermind champion, winning with his incomparable knowledge of the songs of Flanders and Swann. He shares his passion for this pioneering comic duo, and tells us why their music deserves to be better known.Presenter: Kirsty LangProducer: Simon Richardson


27 Apr 2021

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Lemn Sissay

Midnight Meets With Colin Murray

Colin has an in-depth conversation with poet Lemn Sissay. They talk about the nature of identity, growing up in the care system and what it is to be loved. Plus Lemn sings a part of a poem he has never performed before.Midnight Meets is part of Colin Murray’s BBC Radio 5 Live show which is on Monday to Thursday, 10.30pm to 1am - or available whenever you want via the free BBC Sounds app.


14 Apr 2021

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S3:E1 Anger in search of Love with Lemn Sissay

Super Brain

Dr Sabina Brennan speaks to the truly inspirational poet Lemn Sissay who’s moving memoir ‘I know my name is why’ chronicles his time in care from when he was taken from his young Ethopian mother and placed with white foster parents in Wigan who returned him to the care system after 12 years like faulty goods returned to a manufacturer. When you talk to Lemn you can't but see that child in his eyes.To learn more about Lemn, his work and his poetry visit https://www.lemnsissay.com/ Get bonus content on PatreonSupport this show http://supporter.acast.com/superbrain. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 15mins

1 Mar 2021

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Lemn Sissay: Mr Unsworth, poetry, care homes and football | #2

My Best Teacher

In the second episode of the My Best Teacher podcast from Tes we chat to poet and writer Lemn Sissay about:His favourite teacher and why he was so important in his development as a poetThe depth of skill teachers have to nurture pupils and help them flourishThe importance of school while growing up in a care homeMemories of football on cold, hard muddy pitches


22 Jan 2021

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Ep19: Lemn Sissay MBE on the importance of kindness in a longlasting career

Attention Engineer

Lemn Sissay MBE on the importance of kindness in a long-lasting career, how poetry really is for everyone and staying away from unproductive negativity - how to take better care of ourselves.Visit penfriend.rocks/lemn for the posh show notes with links to explore his brilliant work. Get two free Penfriend songs when you sign up to my mailing list. Thanks for listening! xo See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


21 Oct 2020

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Lemn Sissay

Standing On The Shoulders

Lemn Sissay is a poet, performer, and chancellor at the University of Manchester. His work ranges from volumes of poetry and plays to documentaries, and an autobiography. He’s been awarded an MBE for services to literature by the Queen, and in 2019 won the PEN Pinter Prize, given to writers who take an “unflinching, unswerving” view of the world. Lemn talks to Aleks us about his childhood spent with a foster family who rejected him at the age of 12. He speaks about spending five years in four different children’s homes and realising at the age of 18 his entire life was a lie. He also speaks about transforming experience, however harrowing, into memory and meaning, and about the giant who gave him strength and inspiration throughout.


24 Sep 2020