Recently Viewed
Pay by...

Visa, Visa Delta, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro, PayPal

My Name Is Why: A Memoir - Lemn Sissay

My Name Is Why: A Memoir - Lemn Sissay

Title: My Name Is Why

Author:  Lemn Sissay

ISBN:  9781786892348

Weight:  719g

Signed first edition, first printing



Sorry, sold out

Our price:  £16.99

My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay

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.

Peer & Press Reviews

My Name Is Why is authentic and beautiful, a potential game-changer in public attitudes to children raised in care.  It’s about bureaucratic cruelty and what happens when love is absent.  Don’t miss it.


The most amazing thing about this book is that it’s not made up.  This actually happened.  It is an incredible story.

Benjamin Zephaniah

The great triumph of this work comes from its author’s determination to rail against what he rightly diagnoses as this institutionally endorsed disremembering of black and marginalised experience.  It is a searing and unforgettable re-creation of the most brutal of beginnings.

Michael Donkor, Guardian

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title My Name Is Why
Sub title A Memoir
Book Features
Edition / printing First edition, first printing
Overall condition Fine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
Signed On the title page
Awards and Media
Media adaptation BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week: five 15-minute daily episodes at 9:45 a.m. from Monday 26 August 2019.
Book Stats
Publisher Canongate Books
Publication date
Printed by Clays Ltd, Elcograf S.p.A.
ISBN 13 9781786892348
ISBN 10 1786892340
Format Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages 191
Size (h x w x d) 223 x 162 x 25mm
Image and Design Credits
Author photograph Hamish Brown
Design Canongate Art

Other books you may like…
Diary of a Somebody - Brian Bilston
Diary of a Somebody - Brian Bilston
Signed edition£14.99
Nobody - Alice Oswald
Nobody - Alice Oswald
Signed, limited & slipcase£159.50
The Bone Flowers - John Fuller
The Bone Flowers - John Fuller
Signed & limited paperback£10.99
The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story - Christie Watson
The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story - Christie Watson
Signed edition£14.99
War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line - David Nott
War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line - David Nott
Signed edition£18.99Sorry, sold out
Modern Signed Editions Ltd