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The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of The University of Manchester, presiding over meetings of the General Assembly and over congregations of the University for the conferment of degrees.

The post of chancellor lasts for a period of seven years and cannot be held by anyone in paid employment of the University.

Incoming chancellors are elected by the members of the General Assembly and the Alumni Association, together with all University staff eligible to hold superannuable appointments.

Lemn Sissay, Chancellor

Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay MBE is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He is associate artist at the Southbank Centre, patron of the Letterbox Club and the Reader Organisation, and ambassador for the Children’s Reading Fund.

Lemn is a fellow of the Foundling Museum and was official poet of the London 2012 Olympics. His public-art Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London, with Gilt of Cain unveiled by Bishop Desmond Tutu.

He is the author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, radio documentaries, public art, and plays. His installation poem What If exhibited at The Royal Academy, touring the world from Tokyo to New York, and 21st Century Poem was released on the multi-million selling, award-winning album Leftism by Leftfield. A violin concerto performed at the BBC Proms by Viktoria Mullova was inspired by and named after his poem Advice For The Living.


The BBC television documentary Internal Flight and radio documentary Child of the State were both broadcast about his life and his TED talk about childhood has more than half a million views. Lemn was the first Black Writers Development Worker in the north of England, based in Manchester. In 2010, he was awarded an MBE for services to literature. The Sissay PhD Scholarship for Care Leavers, the first of its kind, has been running for six years. He regularly reads on stages and in universities across the globe as an inspirational speaker and poet. He wrote the official poem for the 2015 FA Cup.

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