In My Life as a Chameleon, Diana Anyakwo explores the themes of identity, family and memory with a tender hand. Centred around the experiences of Lily, a teenager of mixed race background growing up in Nigeria and England. 

Lily’s experience is further complicated by her birth order as the youngest of four children with a significant age difference between her and the others. Interestingly, the novel is written in a diary like format flitting between different time periods with no strict adherence to chronology.

We watch Lily experience bereavement and the subsequent pain of grief as young child whose experience is often dismissed. Prior to this loss, Lily experiences the confusion of a loved one’s mental illness and her family’s inability to confront or adequately acknowledge the fissures and chasms that this causes.

The Cheeky Natives sat down in this delightful conversation with Diane to discuss what it means to write characters who navigate complex social contexts and identities while grieving a past unknown and an uncertain future.

My Life as a Chameleon has been longlisted for the Jhalak Children’s and Young Adult Prize 2024 and shortlisted for the KMPG Ireland Children’s Books Ireland Awards 

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