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Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay: My Name Is Why

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"Our True Nationality is Mankind" H.G Wells
Globalisation, Nationalism & Migration - Futures

At the age of seventeen, after a childhood of being fostered 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. In My Name is Why, Lemn Sissay recounts his life story, a story of neglect and determination misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph.

He reflects on being fostered, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. This moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions and celebrates the redemptive power of creativity.

Lemn Sissay is an award-winning writer and popular broadcaster as well as being the author of five books of poetry. He was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Huddersfield and the University of Manchester, and was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to literature. He was the official poet for the London 2012 Olympics and is patron of the Letterbox Club, supporting children in care. Earlier this year he was announced as the winner of the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize - the prize is awarded to writers who take, in Harold Pinter’s words, an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ look at the world - and Lemn Sissay will receive the award in October.

"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

Event chaired by Julia Wheeler.

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Mill Bay,
CT20 1BN

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