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Lemn Sissay, foster child, poet and university chancellor: ‘Everything I know about myself comes from Manchester’


He beat Peter Mandelson to be elected chancellor of Manchester University, but this doesn’t mean it is ‘time for a party’ – Lemn Sissay is determined to use his new role to help more of his fellow care-leavers into education

In October the University of Manchester is going to have to clone Lemn Sissay, or at least, he suggests, “make a hologram of me”. That’s the month the 48-year-old poet is due to collect an honorary PhD, which, as the university’s newly-elected chancellor, he is also responsible for presenting.

“It’s mad,” agrees Sissay – who left school at 15, and this week beat Peter Mandelson and the Halle Orchestra’s Mark Elder to secure the ceremonial position. “Maybe I will shake hands with myself and say, ‘Well done, lad.’”

Related: Poet beats Peter Mandelson in race to be Manchester University chancellor

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