DAY 1 August 29th Thursday Publication day.
I wake at The Malmaison in Piccadilly Manchester and send out my morning rhyme with accompanying photograph as I do every morning.
I publish light said the sky
And books light the way
I hope my name is why
Will find the light of day
And so the day of publication begins
at 7.30am it starts with BBC Breakfast Television.
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) August 29, 2019
Then there’s a series of of local and national radio interviews. This photo is with broadcast radio legend Becky Want.
all in my beloved Manchester at media city in Salford
The day ends in a moving conversation on Granada Reports with another Broadcast TV News legend: Lucy Meacock
"It consumed me with a sense of worthlessness…"
Manchester poet Lemn Sissay MBE's new book, My Name Is Why, is a frank recollection of life in children’s homes. "It consumed me with a sense of worthlessness…"@lemnsissay pic.twitter.com/LIAgZXWjok
— ITV Granada Reports (@GranadaReports) August 29, 2019
DAY 2 Friday August 30th London Jo Good. In the middle of the interview I broke down.
My Name Is Why has been published for less than 24 hours and there is a definite reaction from people I don’t know.
DAY 3 Saturday August 31st Tonight’s my Ethiopian Book launch in Bethnal Green.
I apologise about my impassioned rant on some of the bad practise in adoption. There is good practise and bad. We must root out the bad and celebrate the good. But the event was beautiful and thank you Selam Amare the organiser on stage with me here.
There is something special about my Ethiopians.
There’s been various articles in the press but I am particularly proud of this.
DAY 4. Sunday September 1st . A day off. I’m hanging out with my friend Subrina Kidd in East London. We laugh as always.
Dotun Adebayo asked me onto his show at 7.30pm. It was electric. The woman to my right is an inspiring foster mother.
DAY 5 Monday September 2nd all interviews from Wogan House at The BBC. Here I am with Dominic King of BBC radio Kent. I love his arts show and remember it well from my time as Canterbury Writer in Residence.
And who should I bump into outside the studio but Elif Shafak DAY 6 Tuesday September 3rd is The Royal Court Theatre. This is home. This is the place which accepted The Report and me with open arms. Radical Vulnerability. I am interviewed on stage by Miranda Sawyer and she is brilliant .
The event ends like this . It fills my heart.
And then there’s book signing.
I race to Euston station for the 10.30pm to Birmingham. Arrive at hotel du vin for 1.30am.
DAY 7 Wednesday September 4th. I wake at 7am to the news that my book is
I catch an Uber to West Bromwich Football ground for 10am
where a crowd of foster cares await and I give the Keynote Address of my life
and then catch the train straight back to London.
It’s The Foyles Bookshop Launch on Charing Cross Road. As I walk in this incredible artwork of My Name Is Why comes into vision on the glass staircase. It’s the idea of Mark Davy.
Backstage up on 6th floor there’s a drinks thing. These are the people who made my book happen. Behind me are Francis Bickmore the editor and Clare Conville the agent.
And This is Emma Draude of Emma Draude PR.
And Joanna Trollope! The event sold out. I am a bit hyper. It must be tiredness. Alex Clark held it all together.
One of the beautiful tings about events is when you’re friends come.
And then there is the pure joy of meeting generations of my people
And the younger generations looking happy
And the book signing lasted. My book is catching the people. I would never have known.
And the Book signing photos.
I haven’t eaten so two great women take me for a meal. One of them is my dear friend LInda Lines and the other is Joanna Trollope.
DAY 10 Saturday September 7th 6am awake and arrive at The imperial War Museum 9.30am to take part in a symposium: Culture Under Attack. These planes are real.
I arrive to hear Elif Shafak speak at #Cultureunderattack.
And then I’m on the panel
Straight after the symposium I race to Euston train station to Manchester where I’m on stage with Julie Hesmondhalgh. Julie is an extraordinary woman. We have an intense discussion on stage. The audience love it. This is my favourite photo of the whole tour.
On the way to New Cross station I bump into poet and publisher Nii Parkes and we talk on the street corner . I like it when that happens. Home 11.30pm.
DAY 14 Wednesday September 11th. It’s Ethiopian new Years Eve. No better time to bump into the super ace face of Anita Rani .
Tomorrow The Two Shot Podcast goes live. I love this podcast. We recorded it earlier this week in Manchester. That shot is in the malmaison. He turns stuff around! Please listen .
I catch a train from London paddington to Oxford and Check in at Oxford Prison which is now a Malmaison Hotel. The event has sold out. Basically this is my life. Road Bridge bag.
This is the hotel. Loves it.
I bereak out and dash over to Blackwells in Oxford. This is the dressing room
The event totally sold out
The book signing was beautiful. A woman breathing through a machine told me she was waiting for a lung transplant. She signed out of hospital to visit me. This is Mehret. This is my favourite shot with My name Is Why.
DAY 15 Thursday September 12th I leave the prison at 5.30am for London.
I start filming at 9am. I’m prividing links for a selection of great short films by new generation artists using spoken word for inspiration.
We are filming in a place called Dalston Hieghts.
And it is an absolutely brilliant. I mean their work is brilliant. I am just the presenter! The films which I am introducing as presenter are from a new generation of brilliance.
The programme is called Rhyme and Reason b broadcast on Sunday 29th on BBC 4. I finish at 2pm and pop home then get a taxi to do an event called House On Fire with Deborah Frances White crreator of The Guilty Feminist.
It is Ethiopian New Years Day and the audience is peppered with Ethiopians. This makes me proud. The book signing stretches into the night
ANd more photogaphs from some beautiful people
DAY 16 Friday September 13th wake at 6am to travel to Belfast. I stay at The Bullit Hotel and drop and head straight to The BBC
And then straight to the Black Box also in Cathedral Quarter.The event has sold out. Friday Night in Belfast.
DAY 17 Saturday Septermber 14th I fly back to London. The plane circled The Shard.. How can a country so beautiful be so utterly disturbed.
There are a few newspaper articles in the papers
It’s another day of bumper press for @lemnsissay and his incredible memoir #MyNameIsWhy @canongatebooks definitely one for your reading list if you haven’t got a copy yet 🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/aNeC9sJudz
— ed public relations (@ed_pr) September 14, 2019
I train Straight to Kings Cross station on to Halifax. Yorkshire is beautiful.
I arrive in Halifax. The event has sold out in The Square Chapel. It is great to meet The Two Michelles from Huddersfield Literature Festival .
Then there is a booksigning. I appreciate this.
And that’s it. Seventeen days. There is much more than I’ve shown you. But this is a taster of my life in the middle of the book launch period which is catapulting towards Christmas. My next blog will be about The Christmas Dinners cause now is the time to talk about the wonderfulness that is The Christmas Dinners.