FROM THE POLARI PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR AND ARTIST
NAMED ONE OF THE NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2022 BY BRITTLE PAPER
NAMED ONE OF THE NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2022 BY OPEN COUNTRY
Migil Bile is a confidently curvy, tea-spilling, super-bright, slightly-dizzy queer British-Somali journalist with schizoaffective disorder and sauce to spare. Ensconced deep in the drama of being a twenty-something, working-class South Londoner juggling one too many gig-economy jobs, wonky mental health and romantic wackness, he takes the unsuspecting reader on an existential meditation on immigration, Brexit, gentrification, sexual assault, the pitfalls of being a digital worker, what it's like when all your immediate family members are on the LGBT spectrum, and explores what constitutes community and kinship during a global pandemic.
Shot through with bombast and badassery, fusing Somali, Spanish, Kiswahili, patois, sheng and hip-hop slanguistics into a sex-drenched, fourth wall-smashing blend of poetry, letters, essayistic excursions and interlinked short stories, THE BUTTERFLY JUNGLE is a tour de force and Diriye Osman is a bad bitch/good-natured motherf*cker who never takes mess (but doesn't mind splitting his lunch money with you.)
Ain't sh*t left to say.
Dig in, reader.
Composed and designed almost entirely on his phone, Diriye Osman's spellbinding follow-up to his landmark debut, FAIRYTALES FOR LOST CHILDREN, is a powerful meditation on Black British queerness, working class bohemia, sexual assault, doxxing, the precariousness of the gig economy and love during the early days of Covid.
This is a masterful, Afrofuturistic collection of interlinked stories that dares us to look away.
'Diriye Osman is an artist of glittering style. His paintings and collages feature luminous color and an eclectic mix of images from ancient Egypt to outer space, and his writing is similarly streetwise and mystical, inspired by jazz, hip-hop, the rhythms of prayer, and the syncopated sounds of multilingual urban slang...The Butterfly Jungle narrates the life of Migil Bile, a canny, irreverent, queer British-Somali journalist navigating romantic escapades, the perils of the gig economy, and the loving complexities of his queer family.'
- SOFIA SAMATAR, The New Inquiry
'Osman is a courageous writer but he is also an original one. His language is peppered with Somali words and crafted with all the concision and riches of poetry...at a time when African writing is on the rise, Osman stands above the crowd.'
-BERNARDINE EVARISTO, The Independent
'Diriye Osman is a master of the surreal. The Butterfly Jungle is a genre-bending encounter with the mind of a queer British-Somali journalist and its mirroring of contemporary life.'
Read Diriye Osman's first interview in eight years here.
For a comprehensive list of the media and academic coverage around Diriye and his work, do check out the Diriye Osman Media Archive.
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Do check out this charming video of Diriye reading from The Butterfly Jungle:
Here's another great video of Diriye reading from The Butterfly Jungle: