Shortlisted for Costa First Novel Award 2016.
A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one Publisher's description Tender and heart-breaking -- Rachel Joyce, bestselling author of 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' A beautiful story told with compassion, urgency and wit -- Stephen Kelman, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'Pigeon English' Vivid and endearing - a very powerful book -- Emma Healey, bestselling author of 'Elizabeth is Missing' Leon is pure goodwill in a wicked world, and he won't leave you when you put this unique book down. Authentic and beautiful, urgent and honest, this novel does what only the best do: it quietly makes room in your heart. At the end of the story I couldn't bear to close the book on Leon. I felt I was abandoning him. I wanted to talk about it straight away with someone else who'd read it, and I know a great many readers will feel the same. -- Chris Cleave, bestselling author of 'The Other Hand' Beautiful and heartbreaking - I cried buckets of tears for Leon and his family -- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of 'The Last Act of Love' A compelling story... Kit de Waal is to be congratulated -- Jane Shemilt, bestselling author of 'Daughter' Hotly anticipated and heartbreaking... a great read...it's no mean feat for a debut to so perfectly capture the world through the eyes of a child...his illuminating child's eye view of adult affairs harks back to the likes of Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer and more recently Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime -- Mariella Frostrup, BBC Radio 4 The unforgettable story of a boy struggling to belong, and the author captures both his mindset and the period impeccably. Heartbreaking and uplifting - just read it Daily Mail My debut of the year so far...heartbreaking and warm at the same time Stylist A funny, sad and endearing debut Psychologies Searing The Times Everything in My Name Is Leon rings true. It's an everyday story and this actually makes it more powerful: these are the lows and joys of real life. Someone will be living them as you read Emerald Street A touching, thought-provoking debut Guardian Powerful and gorgeously written...may make you cry, but it's also uplifting and full of hope Good Housekeeping Heart-breaking yet told with wit and compassion - I loved it Woman and Home Full of small exquisite details, de Waal's novel is ultimately affirmative. But be warned - it's a bit of a weepie Metro Deeply moving, compulsively readable and, despite the heart-rending subject matter, often funny Irish Times The voice of Leon is distinctive, beguiling and ultimately compelling, resonant of the young narrators in Room or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time RTE Guide Searing T2 Beguiling, tender, funny, compassionate ... entirely heartbreaking without being bleak Sunday Express Conjures the plight of children in care - and the Britain of the 1980s - with heartbreaking intensity Harpers Bazaar It's a wonderful book. I really enjoyed it. It is extremely affecting -- Toby Lichtig I think My Name is Leon is a really stand out novel -- Alex Clark
Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. Her writing has received numerous awards including the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2014 and 2015 and the SI Leeds Literary Reader's Choice Prize 2014. My Name is Leon is her first novel. She has two children.