‘Exit loss, enter hope’ – Lemn Sissay announced as 2022 SoA Awards keynote speaker

Keynote speaker Lemn Sissay reflects on themes of hope and connection as the Society of Authors prepares for its first in-venue awards ceremony since 2019.

Photo of Lemn Sissay

Photo credit (c) Hamish Brown

The BAFTA-nominated, international prize-winning poet, writer, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay OBE will deliver the keynote speech at the 2022 Society of Authors’ Awards on 1 June at Southwark Cathedral.

Lemn will join the night’s host Joanne Harris and a panel of celebrated judges for the SoA’s first in-venue ceremony since 2019. The winners of 12 prizes will be announced on the night, taking home a total prize fund of more than £100,000.

Commenting on the awards, Lemn Sissay said:

Exit anger, enter kindness. Exit isolation, enter book shops. Exit fear, enter imagination. Exit loss, enter hope. Exit pandemic, enter the Society of Authors’ awards ceremony.

Among the shortlistees this year are 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winner Kanya D’Almeida, New Yorker cartoonist Will McPhail, children's author Matthew Hodson and poet A. K. Blakemore.

The annual awards celebrate the best literary works from authors at all stages of their careers – from poetry to novels to short stories. Previous years have recognised the early works of celebrated authors including Mark Haddon, Seamus Heaney and Zadie Smith.

Bookings open today for both in-venue and online tickets. In-venue tickets will be £20 for members and £25 for guests. Online attendance is free. For more details and to book, head to our SoA awards event page.

Donate to our Contingency Fund for authors by buying any of our shortlisted books from Bookshop.org.