My Name is Leon
by Kit de Waal

My Name is Leon


It’s 1981, a year of riots and royal weddings. The Dukes of Hazzard is on TV. Curly Wurlys are in the shops. And trying to find a place in it all is nine-year-old Leon. He and his little brother Jake have gone to live with Maureen. They’ve lost one home, but have they found another? Maureen feeds and looks after them. She has wild red hair and mutters swearwords under her breath when she thinks they can’t hear. She claims everything will be okay. But will they ever see their mother again? Who are the couple who secretly visit Jake? Between the street violence and the street parties, Leon must find a way to reunite his family…

Praise from the Desmond Elliott Prize

“De Waal has called her novel ‘a tiny story’ but it is one which packs a tremendous punch, its concentrated power both verbal and visual. Evocative chapter drawings accompany it, a story board for this cinematic piece: each one emblematic of a scene as emotionally vivid as it is sparely scripted. The universal themes of love and loss are writ largest onto this moving picture – ever present, always threatened.”

About the Author

Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother and Caribbean father and worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law. She has been awarded the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize in both 2014 and 2015, the SI Leeds Literary Reader’s Choice Prize 2014, and second place in both the Costa Short Story Award 2014 and the Bath Short Story Award 2014. Her short stories, The Beautiful Thing and Adrift at the Athena have also been produced for BBC Radio 4. My Name is Leon is her first novel.