Giveaway: BIRDY FLYNN (US Only)

Birdy-Flynn_9781780749396_B-Format_CMYK

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

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

Related Posts

 

Comments 3

Already Registered? Login Here
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

Gabby Garcia's Ultimate Playbook  (Gabby Garcia #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
If life were a baseball game, all-star pitcher Gabby Garcia...
Roll With It
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That...
That's What Friends Do
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Samantha Goldstein and David Fisher have been friends ever since...
Jane Anonymous: A Novel
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz’s thrilling novel Jane Anonymous is...
Someone Else's Shoes
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Izzy, a budding stand-up comic, is already miserable about...
Midnight on Strange Street
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
AVERY MILLER is looking for a fresh start, away from...
From the Desk of Zoe Washington
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a...
The Okay Witch
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Magic is harder than it looks. ...
Cub
Cub
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Cindy has just dipped a toe into seventh-grade drama—with...
Speed Demon
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eager to find his place at his elite new school,...
The Ghost in Apartment 2R
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if there was a ghost in your brother's room?...
Full Disclosure
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a community that isn't always understanding, an HIV-positive teen...
Resurrection Girls
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned...
Orpheus Girl
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In her debut novel, award-winning poet Brynne Rebele-Henry re-imagines the...
Riot Baby
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live...
The Haunting of Henry Davis
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two kids are about to find out that their lives...

Latest Member Reviews

Loki: Where Mischief Lies
 
3.0
"LOKI: WHERE MISCHIEF LIES tells a new story of teen Loki, before all the big battles and intergalactic feuds with..."
Jane Anonymous: A Novel
 
5.0
"Told from the perspective of a girl who was captured and escaped, JANE ANONYMOUS is a thriller of both physical..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"posso usare l'italiano or english"
Girl at Heart
 
4.7
"I know better than to start a Kelly Oram book at bedtime. I know better, yet I do it with..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
4.7
"In all seriousness, Fireborne by Rosaria Munda is the best. I have nothing to compare it to. It is unique,..."
Tweet Cute
 
4.3
"TWEET CUTE is a fun enemies-to-dating and anonymous-You've-Got-Mail style YA contemporary romance. The book follows the two protagonists in equal..."
Imperfect: A Story of Body Image
 
3.5
"A memoir in graphic novel form, offering the personal account of a young Muslim girl’s nearly lifelong battle with perception,..."
Throw Like a Girl
 
4.3
"THROW LIKE A GIRL is a charming story about chasing your dreams, a little romance, and a passion for sports...."
The Boy Next Story
 
4.0
"'The Boy Next Story' by Tiffany Schmidt follows main character Aurora, who goes by Rory, as she tries to figure..."
 
4.0
"Veronica can see the ghost of her dead mother. She also suffers from debilitating migraines that hold her back from..."
Fearless Public Speaking
 
N/A
"If you have weak, wobbly knees and a pounding heart when you face an audience--don't worry, that's good! In Fearless..."
Pax Novis (The Pax Archives, #1)
 
4.0
"PAX NOVIS is an engaging YA sci-fi novel that takes place in the future, when humans have colonized other planets...."
And I Darken
 
3.3
"To be honest, I went into this expecting vampires. I guess between the visual tone to the..."
Trees: A Rooted History
 
5.0
"When I was a little girl there were only a few books that I drug around with me to stare..."
The Hideout
 
5.0
"The artistry and illustrations in The Hideout are dreamlike, painting a picture of your favorite park and woodland location hidden..."
Endling: The First
 
5.0
"Applegate delivers an action-packed middle-grade sequel in a uniquely otherworldly setting, with characters that are relatable, cute and fuzzy, along..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
5.0
"THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION is an incredible new YA fantasy that combines a dark mystery, magic, and romance/love into a gorgeous,..."
Refraction
 
4.3
"REFRACTION is a highly readable/devourable book that is certainly a page-turner. In the post-apocalyptic future, a small island appears to..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"hi :) bross :)"
Fan the Fame
 
4.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Excuse me, who gave Anna Priemaza permission to bug my house and use my brother and I..."