My Name Is Why
How does a government steal a child and then imprison him? How does it keep it a secret? This story is how. 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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About My Name Is Why:
‘The most amazing thing about this book is that it’s not made up. This actually happened. It is an incredible story’, Benjamin Zephaniah
‘A gorgeous and beautifully written triumph of hope, intelligence and resilience over multiple and varied cruelties’. Cathy Rentzenbrink
‘I have never read a memoir like it. A blistering account of a young life in the hands of neglectful authorities. It’s a quest for understanding, for home, for answers. Grips like a thriller. Astounding’, Matt Haig