Giveaway: BIRDY FLYNN (US Only)

Giveaway: BIRDY FLYNN (US Only)

Birdy Flynn (US Only)

by: Helen Donohoe

Release Date: May 9, 2017

Publisher: Oneworld Publications/Rock the Boat

About the Book:

“Birdy is a complex, compelling creation. A terrific debut.”

  Sarah Waters, bestselling author of The Paying Guests

Birdy Flynn carries secrets.

There is the secret of Birdy’s dead grandmother’s cat. How the boys tortured it and Birdy had to drown it in the river to stop it from suffer-ing. There’s the secret of Mrs. Cope, the teacher who touched Birdy. The secret of the gypsy girl at school who Birdy likes. But she can’t tell anyone about any of these secrets. Because Birdy’s other secret is that while she fights as good as the boys, she is a girl, and she doesn’t always feel like a girl is supposed to.

So Birdy holds on to her secrets and tries to become what others want, even it if means losing herself.

For readers of GEORGE and GRACEFULLY GRAYSON, BIRDY FLYNN is a beautifully nuanced and deeply felt portrayal of a girl growing up amid an imperfect family, and an imperfect world, to become the person she was meant to be.

 

About the Author:

HELEN DONOHOE studied politics and government at Manchester University and the LSE. For a long time she dedicated her career to speaking up for the powerless and invisible as an LGBT campaigner, social activist, lobbyist and volunteer. While studying for her Master's in Creative Writing at City College London, she was mentored by the novelist Sarah Waters. Helen won the PFD Novel Writing Prize for the first draft of her debut, BIRDY FLYNN. She now writes full-time and lives in London with her partner and two daughters. For more information, visit her website at www.helendonohoe.org or follow her on Twitter at @HelenDonohoe.

 

 

Learn More:

Link to your website: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

 

Q&A with Helen Donohoe:

BIRDY FLYNN is full of England in the 80s – why is the book set then and not in the present?

The book is set in the ’80s because it was a time that could effectively illustrate three layers of conflict: first, the personal internal conflict that Birdy experiences in regards to her sexual and gender identity and her loyalties; second, the level of conflict represented by an underlying mistrust of the Irish which was particularly acute in the 80s following high levels of immigration and a terrible campaign of terrorism by the IRA; third, the societal conflict as epitomized by the industrial strife and the Falklands War. The Falklands War created a diversion from the economic problems of the time in England. There were union jacks everywhere and in army towns the patriotism was particularly fervent.

Arguably we live in equally divisive times right now, but in contemporary western culture, there is far more understanding and discussion of sexuality and gender and you would not get the same racial tension between the English and Irish.

I also wanted to use the 80s because it has so many iconic symbols, distinctive music and major events such as the birth of Prince William, the World Cup in Spain, the visit of the Pope to the UK, and Thatcher’s politics.

What was the most challenging part of writing the book?

BIRDY FLYNN is my first novel, and I found it very hard to keep faith in my ability to finish. I had many breakdowns of confidence. My personal fears over my lack of formal English language skills — including vocabulary and grammar — was also a major inhibitor. Thank God for spell check!

Emotionally I found being inside the head of such a vulnerable young person difficult at times. It was tempting to just make everything all right!

And I also had to juggle writing it with a full time job, being a co-mother to two young girls, and caring for my very ill mother.

BIRDY FLYNN is not just a roman a clef – it’s a portrait of a working class family struggling to come to terms with a daughter’s gender identity and also just to get along with their daily life. Can you talk about the family dynamics in the book and why they’re important?

I wanted to paint a picture of a working class family with so much love in it, but ‘’innocent ignorances,’’ perpetual dysfunctions and vulnerabilities exacerbated by external events. I am from an enormous Irish family on my mom’s side and an enormous Scottish family on my dad’s, and I personally draw on the incredible bond that we have, despite life’s struggles. In the book there is a unconscious strength that Birdy has that eventually becomes conscious, because although she fears her world will fall apart if she reveals her secrets, she also knows, on some level, that because of her extended family she will always be ok, unlike two other characters in the book, Gypsy girl and Martin.

I was determined to avoid any tired clichés about Irish people being drunks and so it is the English dad that you see as the heavy drinker. The conflict between mum and dad should reflect the frustration of being working class and powerless at the time. It is the immigrant Irish that have the strongest sense of identity. The dad however, has an Irish name but considers himself English, he feels let down by his trade union, he can’t find work — partly because of his Irish name, and he can’t communicate with his children. He is, in many ways, more of a lost soul than Birdy.

Did you always intend to surprise the reader with the revelation that while Birdy identifies as a boy, her assigned gender is that of a girl? Can you talk about how you decided to include that as a revelation in the narrative instead of upfront?

It sort of happened by accident. One of my early manuscript readers commented on how she thought the character was a boy until some way in. That played to all the assumptions we make about gender, the language we use and the way we dress, so then I wanted to maximize its impact.

Birdy experiences sexual abuse from a female teacher at school — why did you make the decision to include that in the novel?

On one level it was again about showing something different, that is very rarely talked about. It’s a fact that female to female sexual assault and abuse does exist but doesn’t come to light. The 80s were also a time of widespread sexual abuse by people in power and authority across the UK, the extent of which has only just started to be realized. It was important to me that Birdy didn’t entirely resolve that situation as well because that is true to what would have happened at the time.

Was there anything that surprised you when writing the book?

I won the PFD City University prize for literary fiction for an early draft of the book — that was a MASSIVE surprise!

 

Giveaway Details:

5 winners will each receive a finished copy of BIRDY FLYNN.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they’ll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What do you think of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rate this blog entry:
Giveaway: TEXTROVERT (US & Canada)
Giveaway: ADULT-ISH: RECORD YOUR HIGHS AND LOWS ON...

Related Posts

 

Comments 3

John on Friday, 05 May 2017 21:33

The cover design is very new and refreshing, and the synopsis makes it sound like this is a book I can understand!

0
The cover design is very new and refreshing, and the synopsis makes it sound like this is a book I can understand!
Dianna G. on Monday, 22 May 2017 20:36

Just by looking at the cover, I wasn't expecting the story to be as heavily emotional. It sounds really interesting.

0
Just by looking at the cover, I wasn't expecting the story to be as heavily emotional. It sounds really interesting.
Penny Olson on Sunday, 04 June 2017 23:55

The cover design is really compelling. It sounds like a story that needs to be told.

0
The cover design is really compelling. It sounds like a story that needs to be told.

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics,...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Disappearances
What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared? ...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Everything All at Once
Lottie Reeves has always struggled with anxiety, and when her...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lucky in Love
Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work...
 
4.2 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
She's So Boss
Whether you already have an idea for a business or...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Wesley James Ruined My Life
Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales
Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Obsidian and Stars
In the sequel to Ivory and Bone—the prehistoric fantasy...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Maybe In Paris
Keira Braidwood lands in Paris with her autistic brother,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Revolt: Book Four of the Resistance Series
The Explosive Conclusion to the Award-Winning Resistance Series To...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
16 Ways to Break A Heart
Unfolding through letters, texts, and chats, Lauren Strasnick’s smart,...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Changes in Latitudes
A "road" trip romance that takes place at sea!...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
First We Were IV
A group of friends start a secret society in...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Orphan is the highly anticipated sequel in the ORB trilogy....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The World Between the Trees
Jake Hunter has disappeared without a trace and when his...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jupiter Storm
Only a week ago Grey Alexander thought she and her...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Lucky in Love
 
4.7
" Maddie leads a normal teenage life. The only exception is her family's money problems. So when Maddie unexpectedly wins..."
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
 
3.7
"‘The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter’ follows, Mary Jekyll. Mary is Dr. Jekyll’s daughter (of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)...."
The Disappearances
 
4.3
"WWII is in full force. Aila and Miles’ mother has just died. When their father is drafted, they have no..."
The Maze Runner
 
4.7
"Nice story that unfolds really fast, and in an interesting way. I enjoyed this first part to the trilogy...."
Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure
 
4.0
"DRAGONWATCH is a captivating, action-packed story that is filled with all type of creatures such as trolls, goblins, dragons, nipsies,..."
Geekerella
 
4.3
"I was in SDCC last weekend so I had to hold off reading. I finally got to finish reading this..."
Lucky in Love
 
3.7
"Everyone has asked themselves at least once, “what would you do if you won the lotto”. LUCKY IN LOVE is..."
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
 
5.0
"What can I say that hasn't already been said about this magnificent book? The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue..."
She's So Boss
 
4.0
"SHE’S SO BOSS by Stacy Kravetz is a non-fiction guide for young female entrepreneurs who are looking to start or..."
Wesley James Ruined My Life
 
4.0
"This was such a cutesy read! Imagine spending your summer working on a Tudor Times themed restaurant with your worst,..."
First We Were IV
 
4.0
"Remind me again to never read YA Thrillers at night. First We Were IV is a book that has haunted..."
They Both Die at the End
 
5.0
"I think we all know what to expect from a book entitled They Both Die at the End; nevertheless, reading..."
Eliza and Her Monsters
 
5.0
"This was one of my most anticipated spring/summer releases and it didn't disappoint. First, the cover is gorgeous. I love..."
Unbecoming
 
4.7
"What I Loved: Though the story is about three women–Mary the grandmother, Caroline the mother, and Katie the daughter–we get..."
Once Upon a Cruise
 
4.0
"What I Loved: After Ainsley’s mom took a cruise director job aboard what is essentially a mockbuster Disney cruise, Ainsley..."
Eliza and Her Monsters
 
5.0
"What I Loved: Eliza, secret creator of a massive webcomic, is an eighteen-year-old ball of anxieties with much more going..."
Dreamthief
 
5.0
"This was an excellent and captivating fantasy book! Olive Kennedy has lived half her life in the magical..."
Washed Ashore
 
4.0
"One confusing passage involved Willie and Mr Wallace, fisherman and harbor master. Critical piece of the plot, but I had..."
Maybe In Paris
 
4.0
"Keira Braidwood's whole dream is to go to Paris. She's saved for this event and has images of the French..."
It's Not Like It's a Secret
 
3.3
"IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET by Misa Sugiura follows the story of Sana Kiyohara as she grapples with identity,..."