Child of the State

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At TED – Literature has long been fascinated with fostered, adopted and orphaned children, from Moses to Cinderella to Oliver Twist to Harry Potter. So why do many parentless children feel compelled to hide their pasts? Poet and playwright Lemn Sissay tells his own moving story. (Filmed at TEDxHousesofParliament.)

Lemn Sissay

The author of five poetry collections, Sissay's poems dot the London landscape and are etched into major landmarks, from the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics to The Royal Festival Hall. In 2006, Desmond Tutu unveiled his sculpture poem "Gilt of Cain," located near Fenchurch Street Station. Currently an associate artist at Southbank Centre and patron of the Letterbox Club, Sissay was named the official poet of the London 2012 Olympics. His poetry art has also been displayed at The Royal Academy.

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