Lindy Burleigh

Family Fortunes

My Name Is Why

By

Canongate 193pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Travel Light, Move Fast

By

Serpent’s Tail 225pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Not Speaking

By

Unbound 312pp £10.99 order from our bookshop

These three very different memoirs are bound together by the common themes of familial love and conflict. For the poet Lemn Sissay, it was the absence of family that defined his life, as he documents in My Name Is Why. He grew up as Norman Greenwood, believing that his birth mother, a young Ethiopian student, had abandoned him as a baby. It was only after receiving the files relating to him from Wigan Council, following a thirty-year campaign to gain access to them, that he discovered the truth about his origins and identity and learned that he had been deprived of a mother because of bureaucratic indifference. His painfully compelling memoir juxtaposes extracts from these typewritten reports – in which he is referred to initially as ‘The boy’ – with lyrical childhood memories.

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