The Black Flamingo

by Dean Atta

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Children's & YA Fiction Sharing Diverse Voices Family Drama Poetry Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Black Flamingo

Fabulously authentic free-form fiction about navigating intersectional identities and finding your wings to fly free.

Uplifting and dazzlingly unique, this coming-of-age treasure explores identity and sexuality with an emboldening message to remember that “you have the right to be you”.

As a young Barbie-loving boy, mixed race Michael wonders if he’s “only half” of everything, to which his mother poignantly replies: “Don’t let anyone tell you/that you are half-black/and half-white. Half-Cypriot/ and half-Jamaican./ You are a full human being.” But he doesn’t feel like a whole human being. Dubbed a “queerdo and weirdo” by bullies and subjected to “batty bwoy” taunts through his teenage years, he leaves London for Brighton University with hope in his heart. But even here Michael feels “like Goldilocks; trying to find a group of people/the perfect fit for me”. He doesn’t feel black enough for the Caribbean Society, or Greek enough for Hellenic Society, or queer enough for the LBGT Society. Then Michael finally finds a fit at Drag Society where he becomes The Black Flamingo, “someone fabulous, wild and strong. With or without a costume on.”

Michael’s journey is complex, moving and told with a raw vitality that makes the soul soar and the heart sing, with Anshika Khullar’s magnificent illustrations and the smart design adding further depth, prompting the reader to pause for thought as his story requires.

Joanne Owen

The Black Flamingo Synopsis

Intensely moving and heart-warming Cosmo Bold Guardian I loved every word Malorie Blackman This is not about being ready, it's not even about being fierce, or fearless, IT'S ABOUT BEING FREE. Michael waits in the stage wings, wearing a pink wig, pink fluffy coat and black heels. One more step will see him illuminated by spotlight. He has been on a journey of bravery to get here, and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colours ... Can he emerge as The Black Flamingo? WINNER OF THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD SHORTLISTED FOR THE CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL SHORTLISTED FOR THE JHALAK BOOK PRIZE *The paperback edition has beautiful gold foil added to the striking cover design*

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781444948608
Publication date: 5th March 2020
Author: Dean Atta
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 368 pages
Primary Genre Children's & YA Fiction
Other Genres:

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Dean Atta Press Reviews

A bold and joyous hymn to self-discovery and acceptance - The Bookseller

The Black Flamingo is the book I wish I had when I was younger ... joyful, emotional and full of depth. The Black Flamingo becomes an emblem of so much, and I am so excited to read this again -- Travis Alabanza - performance artist and poet

Dean Atta's tender coming of age novel casts a fresh and enriching perspective on what it means to be seen as different at the level of race, culture, identity, heritage and gender ... an important book for young people -- Malika Booker - Poet

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781444948608
Publication date: 05/03/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781444948585
Publication date: 08/08/2019
Format: Hardback

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About Dean Atta

Dean Atta's debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody's Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His poems deal with themes of race, gender, identity and growing up, and have appeared on BBC One's The One Show and several times on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Channel 4. Dean was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. He regularly performs across the UK and internationally. Photo credit Thomas Sammut.

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