Official Olympic poet helps North East writers

Olympic poet, Lemn Sssay MBE visits the Gala Theatre in Durham to run a masterclass.
Olympic poet, Lemn Sssay MBE visits the Gala Theatre in Durham to run a masterclass.
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THE official poet of the Olympics helped writers take a fresh approach to their prose when he visited the region.

Lemn Sissay led a workshop at the Gala Theatre in Durham as part of his tour of performance venues in the North East.

The sessions were run as part of the NE-Generation Workshop Festival.

It will run until Sunday, June 17, and is aimed at young people as the countdown to the London Games continues.

The event at the Gala saw eight young people, aged from 12 to 22, write an eight-line poem about someone they love, but have never told.

It brought together schoolchildren and students at the city’s university, who were put under pressure to write a headline to their piece.

Ben Ayrton, NE-Generation’s programme manager, said: “They were entranced.

“Lemn is really passionate about writing and told them write for publication, write for yourself, write for your friends and family, and whatever it is, be proud of your work. You could really feel his energy.”

Part of the event’s aim was to spread the message that the Olympics and Paralympics can have an impact outside of the capital.

NE-Generation is the Legacy Trust UK’s programme for the North East.

Since 2009 it has worked with around 25 young leaders to allocate £1million of funding for 15 youth projects.

They have seen it work with about 4,000 young people and reach and audience of more than 175,000 people.

The workshop festival is one of a programme of events, showcases, exhibitions and performances scheduled throughout the summer in recognition of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad.

More information about its work can be found at

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham