Dear Lemn as it’s the week after of your birthday. This post is to your future self to show what you were doing at the time.
For your birthday present you have been asking people to tell you something about family. They have responded. Click on this world map to go to the site and remember the website closes on 31st May when it will have been online for just 24 days.
So here’s some other stuff happening in your life Lemn.. Hay Festival invited you to curate three special events.
On 1st June memoirists Hannah Pool and Nadia Owusu discuss the power of voice and memoir. Zoom in.
On 3rd June Ethiopian British/American authors Maaza Mengiste and Aida Edemariam discuss women and war. Zoom in.
There’s a lot going on. The Black Lawyers Matter Lemn Sissay Law Bursary deadline is 31st May. The Charles Causley Prize, for which you are judge was announced on 10th May. You are are in the midst of The Brighton Festival. Lemn, it’s your festival with over 100 events throughout the city and surrounding areas. You spent your birthday in Brighton. Here you are with Brighton writers.
Keep going. A few days ago you announced winners of University of Manchester’s Making a Difference Awards which you can view on Youtube. You are nominated for some awards too: The Broadcast Awards on 27th May and The Indie Book Awards in June.
Don’t forget you are judging the £500 prize for a tweet which anyone can enter. Anyone! Deadline June 21st.
On May 7th The Duchess of Cambridge launched The Sunday Times Bestseller Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020. Lemn you were one of the judges. And here is one of the photographs.
There’s been a flurry of TV too Lemn. Like Have I Got News For You. And Mary Beard’s Inside Culture with Edmund Da Vall and Elif Shafik.. And in a few days time the premier league will feature you. You did some acting too (!!) as part of Sophie Willans new BBC Series Almas Not Normal which was a joy to do.
The Brighton festival is world class. You love Brighton based companies like Creative future who run your favourite literary competition and Project Harare and Oasis who “help women, children and families find the strength and opportunities to make choices that lead to change. Not just for themselves, but for their families, their friends and their communities. For all of us.”
You saw Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch playing Kora and Harp at Brighton’s Dome. It’s so good that you are out at live events and so good for the performers too.The audience is socially distanced at The Dome.
You contributed to Brighton Stories by reading them for Yara and Davina. All is explained.
You did all of this with someone, Lemn. That was the best part of your birthday.
Talk to people Lemn. A little post pandemic parlez does no harm. You talked to the security guard at your hotel. How would you have known he was a student studying law with two years to go at Sussex University. We all need to talk to each other across the lines designed to separate us. That reminds me you are in The Book of Hope which came out last week.