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Dean Atta Recommends

Books Referenced in 'The Black Flamingo'

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Dean Atta

Dean Atta is the author of The Black Flamingo, which won The Stonewall Book Award. A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen - then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers - to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.

Here Dean recommends six books the protagonist, Michael, his mother and his best friend read.

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Order your copy of The Black Flamingo here.

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The Fault is in Our Stars

John Green, paperback


'This is another book that Daisy reads. It’s never stated whether Michael knows what this book is about. I placed this book in the story to draw parallels of two teenagers finding love and support in one another through times of adversity. '

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The Color Purple

Alice Walker, paperback


'A set-text at school, Michael is struck by the first lines of The Color Purple, 'You better not never tell nobody but God.' When Michael comes to realise he is gay, he wonders if he will go to hell.'

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Mark Haddon, paperback


'Michael’s soon-to-be best friend, Daisy, is reading this when they first hangout. Daisy is an outcast at school and Michael seems to be her only friend. At lunchtimes they sit together in an empty class room, they don’t talk much at first, they sit quietly and read.'



Stephen King, paperback


'Michael’s mother reads this on the beach when they go on holiday to Cyprus. Michael reflects on the main theme of this book: nightmares. Michael’s biggest nightmare would be to lose his family. He has a recurring nightmare of his mother dying.'

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Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry

Maya Angelou, hardback


'A gift from Michael’s mother, the poetry of Maya Angelou has a profound impact on Michael. He is struck by the power and potency of her poetry, how urgent it feels and how accessible the language is. After reading this book, Michael begins writing his own poems.'


The Complete Works of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare, paperback


'Michael is into performing arts, he loves singing and acting, he takes A level drama in high school and considers auditioning for Drama School but instead opts for an english degree at university. When Michael joins Drag Society at university, he remembers learning that drag was necessary in Shakespearean theatre because women were not allowed to perform on stage. ‘DRAG’ stands for Dressed Resembling A Girl.'