Humans are incredibly complex and incredibly simple and poet Dean Atta displays this poignantly in his debut novel The Black Flamingo. This bildungsroman follows Michael as he grows to understand himself through his Jamaican-Greek Cypriot heritage while growing up in London and accepting his queerness. Struggling to make friends, Michael is faithfully dedicated to Daisy who accepts him for himself while he treads through a barrage of strikes against him: “not black enough,” “not white enough,” “not queer enough,” etc. Once in college Michael is drawn to the Drag community and through that accepting performance art discovers that he is perfectly “Michael enough.”
The Black Flamingo was originally published in England in August 2019 but was released in the United States May 2020. This young adult work is a novel in verse tackling themes of race, sexuality, homophobia, and abuse head on. Atta won a 2020 Stonewall Award and is the June 2020 Barnes and Noble YA Book Club book.