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My name is why
  1. Grace Langford
  1. Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Grace Langford, Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK; grace.langford1{at}

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As autumn descended in South Wales, our neurology book club gathered in a home beside Roath Park to discuss My Name is Why, a moving memoir by author and poet Lemn Sissay. The child of an Ethiopian student visiting the UK, he came under the care of the nation’s social services when his mother had to return rapidly to Ethiopia on the death of her father. The UK care systems renamed him Norman, and had him fostered as an infant. However, his foster family rejected him at aged 12 and he spent his adolescence being moved from children’s home to children’s home.

Sissay constructs his story around the social worker notes to which he had finally been granted access …

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  • Contributors GL wrote this article following the Cardiff Neurology Book Club.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.