People featured at Leeanne's book launch

‘The Real Me’ a story of challenges and hope

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Last week saw the Edinburgh launch of Leeanne Clark’s debut novella, My Journey Through Life: THE REAL ME! The book is a moving autobiography which details Leeanne’s experience as a person born with mild cerebral palsy to parents unable to provide the support she needed.

The book launch was attended by over 40 guests and featured a reading by Leeanne and a question and answer session with John Glenday, a fellow writer and mentor that Leeanne met at Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre Moniack Mhor. There were also messages of support from Leeanne’s friends and family, and congratulations from SCLD and the RSA. The event was organised by SCLD and RSA Scotland (where Leeanne is a lifetime Fellow).

Leeanne’s story is one of triumph – she is a woman who has overcome many challenges to live the successful life she leads today.

This book is essential reading for anyone who has grown up in care, or who intends to work within the care system. At times THE REAL ME! is a challenging read, however Leeanne makes no apologies for this: “This is my story and my life” she says.

“Some people will find this book upsetting. This is my story and my life, I won’t apologise.” 

Leeanne made a speech at the event, explaining what had inspired her to put her story down in words. She commented: “Most of you know that I did not get the best start to life and with the book I have written I hope that it will provide young care experienced people with a chance to open up about their own unique stories and show them that sometimes being care experienced can be a really positive thing for you.

I also felt that the book could offer an opportunity for care professionals to understand how people really feel when they are on this kind of journey.  It also might be helpful to new corporate parents in their workplaces, as they attempt to build services to support care experienced young people with learning disabilities.  The message is very important, and I want to reach as many people as possible in the most positive way possible and I can only do that by telling my story.”  

Leeanne is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) which has given her opportunities to develop her literary and professional networks; something which is vital when it comes to publishing and promoting a book. Leeanne’s fellowship of the RSA is a result of a partnership programme between the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD) and RSA Scotland. In 2017 SCLD’s then Chief Executive Chris Creegan (himself an RSA Fellow) wanted to increase diversity within the RSA. In an effort to make the RSA more inclusive, Chris initiated a partnership between SCLD and RSA Scotland to run a programme to recruit five RSA Fellows with a learning disability. Leeanne succeeded in becoming one of five RSA fellows and has a lifetime membership of the RSA. You can find out more about the SCLD RSA Fellows here.

Leeanne hopes to write further books based on her experiences of growing up with both physical and learning disabilities and of being in care.

A limited number of copies of the book have been published, however Leeanne is currently working to source a publisher to produce further copies and welcomes input from relevant interested parties. If you or someone you know is able to provide publishing assistance to Leeanne, please contact SCLD.

Get your copy

SCLD is offering a limited number of free copies of My Journey Through Life: THE REAL ME!

To order your copy, or to find out more please email us.