My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay
The above title is both the name of a book and the name of an event, featuring the author, that I attended a few days ago. Lemn Sissay’s story about his life as a foster child and in institutional care in England, is a dreadful story about the failures of the care system in the UK.
Lemn has devoted his life, since turning eighteen and leaving care, to finding out the truth about his life, and why he was placed into care. He has spent his life trying to right the wrongs of his life, by fighting to get his records, and fighting for acknowledgement of the many wrongs that were done to him.
My Name is Why is the record of those files, which show the truth about Lemn Sissay’s life, from birth to age 18. When he first read these files, he found out his real name. He also found out that while he had spent is life until age 12, in the care of uncaring foster parents, and after age 12 in institutions, his mother had been writng to the authorities and pleading for him to be returned to her. She had been doing this since shortly after his birth.
Lemn Sissay is one of England’s best loved poets. His presentation and performance on stage is very powerful and very moving. But at times he is also very very funny. His humour also comes through in his writing.
Here’s a quote that I love from Lemn Sissay’s performance: Family is a collection of disputed memories between one group of people over a liftime.
Unsurprisingly My Name is Why hot number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Well deserved.
My Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The first video below shows Lemn Sissay talking to an audience about his life. The second video shows him performing his poem called Suitcases and Muddy Parks.. This poem almost reduced me to tears.
Huge thanks to the Bendigo Writers Festival for bringing Lemn Sissay to our city, both for the event this week and for the Bendigo Writers Festival in 2018.
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Cover image: Goodreads