I stopped drinking and started living.

11990386_116907211995340_1674091849848098653_nThe past 18 days I’ve mainly been writing the first episode of  a series called Origin Stories for BBC radio 4. (It’s 318 days since my installation as Chancellor.)     Then there’s been the publication of my new and selected poems called Gold from the Stone and the start of the Gold from the Stone. Oh and the beginning of The Christmas Dinners.  So  On 17th I spent the day in Liveroool for The Christmas Dinner, A care leaver sang Amazing Grace at the end and had us in tears. Back in London  on 19th I finish recording for BBC radio  “Lemn Sissay on Bob Marley”. click link to listen. IMG_0057

On Sat 20th I did BBC London and met Reece wetherspoon really enjoyed the interview.


On 21st I appeared  at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the launch of my book Gold from the Stone. I was  interviewed by  the new head of Scottish Poetry Library:  Asif Khan


Quiet incredible piece in The Observer came out the same day




One of my morning noises   was quoted in the article. HOW do you do it


And the book signing afterwards was a joy.  Sold out of the books.


On 22nd I was a guest on  R3’s  The Verb with Ian McMillan live at the Edinburgh Book Festival..


Booker prize winner James Kellman there too. He recalled how we read together  at The Radical Black Bookfair  25 years ago.

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On 23rd I saw  Her Name Was Carmen at Englsih National Opera in London with my friend Bobbi Byrne.  The star is  Irina Korlesnikova one of “the greatest  classical dancers of our time”.  She wept as she curtain closed. took her bow. I loved it!


question-mark-706906_960_720The next day on 24th  I traveled to Manchester and had one of the  most momentous days in my adult life.  I can’t speak about it yet. But I will.

After returning to London on 26th  I set off for the Greenbelt Festival on 27th.  many came.I am loving this book tour. IMG_0311


And another great book signing. It feels like my first book.  Anabsolute honour.


Later in the day I gave a  Q and A with  author Martin Wroe. A packed house. Tent.


The next day 28th I gave a masterclass but most exciting  for me was the meeting with Satish Kumar. He wrote No Destination which was adapted for The World Service. I  was the voice of the book.  We’ve been wanting to meet each other for a few years now.


A good festival means meeting good people.  Chatting to Simon Mayo at the breakfast table in the hotel  was another highlight.  He shared his creative explorations which had me on the edge of my seat.Back in London on 29th was my book launch @roughtradeeast


Then booksigning was a blast yet again. I’m  meeting old friends and new.


Emperor Haile Selassie’s grandson Prince Michael Makonnen came .  I am honoured.


On 30th August I travelled to Bristol to launch the book at Rise Music.


after the booksigning I noticed The Stay Gold mug.


Bristol was a blast then I set straight off for Rough Trade in Nottingham

IMG_0465and the book signing was beautiful yet again. Honest it really was.


The three events at Rough Trade have been a success. Ka Booom!


Straight back to London on 1st sept where I was interviewed by Sophie Ikenye for Focus Africa who was recently voted one of the 100 most successful young africans in the world IMG_0518

and then a BBC World interview on the world service with  Hewete Haileselassie


and on 2nd September  I  interviewed marquees of queensberry for BBC PM programme IMG_2470

Friday 2nd Ten pieces at The Royal Albert Hall presented by naomi Wilkinson and myself was was broadcast on  BBC radio 2.  On 4th  I was a guest on BBC TV’s  Sunday Morning Live with Naga Munchetty. She’s on strictly come dancing this year.


Some years ago I stopped drinking and started living.  Stopping drinking and starting living is the best thing I have done in my adult life.    I don’t know if you’ll understand this but……  I got Lemn back.

43 thoughts on “I stopped drinking and started living.

  1. Fabulous post. Do you ever sleep? Congratulations on your amazing book tour!

    Can’t wait for the ? mystery to be revealed….

  2. I still remember the first time I saw you , at an event at Urbis (as was!) in the old Aimhigher days-what a journey you’ve had since then! Have to say I love your daily thoughts but ‘Invisible Kisses’ remains my favourite piece!

  3. My goodness Lemn. So much packed into a such a small amount of time. You are a wizard. I am looking forward to the news of your momentous time!

  4. Was the 24th the most momentous day because you went to the cinema with me and dad? (Kidding obviously but on a serious note, the next Star Wars comes out this Christmas!)

  5. I understand. Giving up alcohol is a bold step to take given how ingrained it is in our society. But, WOW, what a difference it makes in living!

  6. Not a minute wasted ,not an emotion not tasted may the sun continue to shine through your verse ,no Lemn Sissay ,cant think of anything worse !(well I can really but it was such
    a good rhyme!)xxx

  7. Lemn you are truly one of my greatest inspirations now. And more so with that great statement I stopped drinking and stared living. September 9th will be exactly one year since I stopped drinking and began my life again.
    I have allowed my childhood and my teenage years to hold me back. Now is the time to release those chains and move forward in life..in art..creating..being..
    Yours in gratitude..

  8. I too am very happy in my life without alcohol. You may inspire others to try it. Congratulations on the book, it’s on my wish list. I’m glad your tour is fun too x

  9. you’re leading a much busier life than those old days together in Hulme, i still have your first collections of poems, i gave it to my dad recently and he loved it. congratulations on everything you have achieved.

  10. You have a wonder and fulfilled life. You are able to share this with us and it is refreshing. Life gave you lemons you made the most delicious lemonade.

  11. Wow! What a busy time you’ve been having of it. Sounds like you’ve been loving it too! Fabulous. Can’t wait to see Origin Stories on 19 September – unfortunately I couldn’t make it to any of the book tour dates and feel very lucky to have got tickets.

    Thanks for this – an inspirational post.

  12. Breathless just reading this Lemn! I need your help Lemn, I’m training some NHS colleagues in listening to the voice of the child in care and I’m just about finished my stuff but would like a short quote on the topic, I know there’s loads of “inspirational” quotes available but they’re usually pretty trite, I’ve searched you but can’t find anything specifically for children in care. I’d love to quote you but not sure where else to look?
    I can see you’re mad busy so no worries if you can’t respond

    Be safe!

      • Hi, I know, I was under time deadline but I did what you suggest and chose your words about scars, the session I’m doing is about listening to children who are traumatised and in care so it fits perfectly, I even chose a nice photo of you too, AND I will big up your work. Thanks for the patient reply!

  13. Spread the word – you’re doing a fabulous job :)) Pure gold.
    But hope you are able to grab a little time in the shade for reflection…..

  14. I was in the audience for your reading at Greenbelt. I just wanted to say thank you for coming, and thank you especially for the talky bits – you said you should shut up, but genuinely we wanted to hear what you had to say. Please come again!

  15. I’m really inspired by your way of seeing life in General! I like how you handle each and every situations that comes to your life. You are such an example to many with your personal and professional life. Sorry, I haven’t read any of your books yet; only your interviews. Can’t wait till I start reading them.

    Happy Ethiopian New Years!

  16. Such an amazing story. I would like to share your story with my daughter, She has never met her dad who refused to acknowledge her even before she was born. She appreciates the fact that she at least has one parent but questions how a father could turn his back on his own child for 12 years.
    You are an amazing person and i believe your experience will help shape her life. she is a very ambitious girl.

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