Multi award-winning author and poet Lemn Sissay invites you to join him for a series of conversations with writers who each have one thing in common: a childhood spent in care.

Selected by Sissay himself, this event’s guest is celebrated writer Sally Bayley. In 1990, Bayley was the first child from West Sussex County Council Care services to go to university and, after graduating, she headed to America to teach aesthetic education in the Midwest. 

Upon returning to Oxford, she released a number of critically-acclaimed novels, including Girl With Dove and No Boys Play Here, each playing with genre and literary style.

About The Authors

Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay is an author, poet and playwright and has been awarded an MBE for services to literature. In 2018 he was made Poet Laureate of Canterbury. He has read poetry everywhere, from the shores of Sri Lanka to Wigan Library and many places between. His autobiography My Name is Why was published in 2019.

Headshot of Sally Bayley

Sally Bayley

Sally Bayley is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. As a child, she absorbed the sounds and rhythms of poetry, ballads and folksongs, and these patterns inform the structure of her story-telling.

In 1990, Sally was the first child to go to university from West Sussex County Council Care services. She studied at St Andrews university, and then went to America, where she taught aesthetic education in midwestern schools and universities and foundation arts courses to adults in inner city Ohio. She is interested in the Liberal Arts model of education and believes anyone can think or write to a high level with the right encouragement and practice. One reader has described her books as rhapsodies which means ‘to stitch a song.’

Sally is currently a Lecturer in English at Hertford College, Oxford. She also teaches on the Sarah Lawrence visiting programme at Wadham College, Oxford. From 2018-2020 she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Oxford Brookes University.