My Name Is Why
At the age of 17, after a childhood in a fostered family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth. This is Lemn’s story; a story of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph. Sissay reflects on a childhood in care, self-expression, and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family, and the meaning of home.
THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE
‘EXTRAORDINARY’ The Times, ‘BEAUTIFUL‘ Dolly Alderton, ‘SHATTERING‘ Observer, ‘INCREDIBLE’ Benjamin Zephaniah, ‘UNPUTDOWNABLE’ Sunday Times, ‘ASTOUNDING’ Matt Haig, ‘POWERFUL’ Elif Shafak
At the age of seventeen, after a childhood in a foster family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.
This is Lemn’s story: a story of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph.
Sissay reflects on his childhood, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. Written with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation’s best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity.
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