Wallwein appointed MBE

Louise Wallwein was appointed as a new MBE in the Queens Birthday honours 2018

read a statement released through her publishers SmithDoorstop Here


The Poetry Business is delighted to announce that Smith|Doorstop poet, Louise Wallwein has been awarded an MBE. 


Louise Wallwein has a reputation as an explosive artist. She was raised in more than a dozen different children’s homes and discovered her voice when she left care and wrote her first play aged 17. She has since performed and written plays for National Theatre Wales, Contact, The Royal Exchange, Sydney Opera House, Red Ladder, Sheffield Crucible and BBC Radio 3 and 4, and an award winning one woman show on the wing of a WWII Shackleton aircraft in Manchester. Her ballad ‘The Island, The Sea, The Volunteer and the Refugee’ was a Radio 4 Pick of the Year 2016. Louise has been serving UK and Global communities as a Poet for the past 21 years.


She has undertaken writing residencies in Queensland and at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and is a BBC Contains Strong Language Poet in residence.


Louise’s acclaimed one-woman show, ‘Glue’ was toured throughout 2017, and was performed at ‘Contains Strong Language’ literature festival as part of Hull City of Culture 2017. ‘Glue’ was also broadcast on Radio 4 in September 2017.


‘Glue’ was published as a groundbreaking book of poems, story-telling and script by Smith|Doorstop Books in 2017. The book expands on the true-life script of her first two meetings with her birth mother, three decades after being put up for adoption. ‘Glue’ retells a childhood shuttled from one carer to another. Clear eyed, affecting, witty and engaging, this book is often disturbing but ultimately life affirming.




The poems and plays that thread through this volume are wonders of language, rhythm and life. Yet the whole is still more – a bold experiment in telling the self: writing a tough, fragile, extraordinary spirit into our souls. Glue is an unforgettable gift to the readers – an act of poetic generosity.

– John McGrath


There are some people who set their world alight. They do this to illuminate hidden matters. With this in mind, my fictional heroine is Lisabeth Salander. My living breathing heroine is Louise Wallwein. Glue binds.

– Lemn Sissay MBE


In Her Own Words

Louise Wallwein

BA Hons




I am very proud to serve society through the magnetic medium of poetry. 

Thank you friends, work mates, neighbours  and strangers, you’ve held me up, kept me going. I’ve never even been a member of a family, so this means a great deal.  From birth I was a child of the state. When I left the care of Manchester local authority in 1987, I  had no job, no way forward, however, I was lucky that I was found by the community of Contact Youth Theatre and a community of LGBTQIA and Anti-racist activists who raised my hope  and aspirations and the absolute belief in kindness and humanity. They taught me a guiding principle 'An Injury to One is an Injury to All'.

After being unemployed for 10 years, I was supported by my dole office workers to go on an access course and a degree course in contemporary history and politics at the University of Salford in 1997. I became one of only 1% of care leavers to achieve a BA with Hons. After leaving University I was again jobless and my career as a poet took off. I performed a show on the World War II aircraft. After this I was supported by the Miss Side and Hulme partnership with a business grant to set up as a self-employed poet. For the past 21 years it’s been my greatest honour to serve society working in many communities around the UK as they recovered and regenerated.

I consider that my job as a poet is to listen, witness. record and be active in social change, to breathe life into the school curriculum and to be a mentor to younger artists. I look forward to advancing the causes closest to my heart,  this includes care leavers,  through my fundraising for the Christmas dinner with my brother Lemn Sissay, to refugees and asylum seekers both in the UK and worldwide and through advancing  equality for all. After a lifetime seach for my identity, I’ve settled on this - I am a Working Class  Butch Mancunian Lesbian Poet/Playwright Activist. I have been raised by the world not a family, I want to thank all those strangers and neighbours whose kindness has helped me to survive the displacement I had to get used to.


Louise would like to thank all the schools, artists and organisations she has collaborated with including: 

BBC Radio Drama North, Reform Radio, Z-Arts, Contact Mcr, St Ambrose Barlow High School, National Theatre Wales, The Royal ExchangeTheatre, HOME, BBC Contains Strong Language Festival, Hull City Of Culture, SmithDoorstop ,TheBooth Centre ,Arts Council England, Walk The Plank, Trafford Borough Council, Arvon Foundation, Bolton@Home, Salford Borough Council, University of Central Lancashire, Manchester Museum,University of Manchester, Outburst Queers Arts Festival, Belfast, Arts Ekta Belfast, Arvon Foundation, Manchester Histories, Cartwheel Arts, The Horsfall /42nd Street, The Cornerhouse/ BFI The Green Room,Didsbury Arts Festival, Kos Solidarity, Groundwork, Wythenshawe Partnership, Partington Regen Partnership.RedLadderTheatre Company, Curious Minds and Creative Partnerships, The Men’s Room, Cardboard Citizens, HAB, Stepping Stones,Community Arts Northwest, Oldham Council, Burnley Youth Theatre, The Edge Theatre, Arena Tbeatre Melbourne, Radio Regen, TiPP, Manchester International Festival, Theatre Rites, The Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. Queensland Government Australia.


Louise Wallwein