Lemn Sissay’s writings are a source of inspiration to huge numbers of people around the world. From poems on the walls and buildings of Manchester and beyond to the contemplative dawn verses published each morning on social media, his words bring solace and light to readers everywhere.
Following the publication of his new memoir My Name Is Why, he tells Alan Yentob what it was like to grow up as the only black child in a sleepy market town outside Wigan in the 1970s. Before being catapulted into the broken care system at the dawn of the 1980s, he was separated from his foster family at the tender age of twelve and left to fend for himself. His journey since has been one of discovery: learning not just that his name was Lemn, but that his parents were Ethiopian, a country he returns to for this film to find out more about his roots.
Featuring contributions from some of the well-known names Lemn has shared the stage with, such as Steve Coogan, Benjamin Zephaniah, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Julie Hesmondhalgh, as well as his close network of friends and supporters from his years in care, this is the story of the boy whose name meant Why.