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  • Published: 20 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473583207
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 8 hr 12 min
  • Narrator: Mohsin Zaidi
  • RRP: $24.99

A Dutiful Boy

A memoir of a gay Muslim's journey to acceptance

A coming of age memoir about growing up queer in a strict Muslim household.

Brought to you by Penguin.

A coming of age memoir about growing up queer in a strict Muslim household. Like Educated with a modern British context.

Mohsin grew up in a deprived pocket of east London; his family was close-knit but very religiously conservative. From a young age Mohsin felt different but in a home where being gay was inconceivable he also felt very alone. Outside of home Mohsin went to a failing inner city school where gang violence was a fact of life.

As he grew up life didn't seem to offer teenage Mohsin any choices: he was disenfranchised as a poor, brown boy, and he was isolated from his family as a closet gay Muslim.

However Mohsin had incredible drive and he used education as a way out of his home life and to throw himself into a new kind of life. He became the first person from his school to go to Oxford University and there he found the freedom to come out to his friends.

But Oxford was a whole different world with its own huge challenges and Mohsin found himself increasingly conflicted. It came to a head when Mohsin went back to visit his parents only to be confronted by his father and a witchdoctor he'd invited to 'cure' Mohsin.

Although Mohsin's story takes harrowing turns it is full of life and humour, and it ends inspiringly. Through his irrepressible spirit Mohsin breaks through emotional and social barriers and in the end he even finds acceptance from his family.

Now Mohsin is a top criminal barrister who fights large-scale cases on a daily basis. Having faced battles growing up, he truly understands the importance of justice as a way of life.

©Mohsin Zaidi 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

  • Published: 20 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473583207
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 8 hr 12 min
  • Narrator: Mohsin Zaidi
  • RRP: $24.99

About the author

Mohsin Zaidi

Mohsin Zaidi grew up in a devout Muslim community in East London. He was the first person from his school to go to Oxford University where he studied law. Mohsin has worked at a UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague and at the UK's Supreme Court. Today he is a criminal barrister at one of the top chambers in the country and works on a number of high profile cases. He is an advocate for LGBT rights, BAME representation and social mobility. He is on the board of Stonewall, the UK's biggest LGBT rights charity and is a governor of his former secondary school. Mohsin appears as a commentator on Sky News and has previously written for Newsweek.

Praise for A Dutiful Boy

The moving personal story of a gay Muslim's tribulations and triumphs at the interface of family, faith and freedom, told with great candour and eloquence.

Peter Tatchell

An incredibly hopeful, urgent and well told coming of age story about religion, class, and LGBTQ+ acceptance - no doubt reading it will save someone's life.

Amelia Abraham

A beautifully written, heartrending story of a young gay man's journey, liberation and love. A real page turner that sparks with humanity and hope.

Lord Michael Cashman

His engaging memoir of his long road to happiness and acceptance by his family is moving and inspiring.


I can't recommend A Dutiful Boy enough, I couldn't put it down. A journey of self discovery, longing, triumph and hope. I fell in love with Mohsin, I imagine you will too.

Suzi Ruffell

A powerful read. In fact, searing in places... vivid and told me a lot about my country... ultimately uplifting.

Lionel Barber

A wonderful book. I really do think that everyone should read it.

Mark Haddon

A deeply-moving account...a must-read.


A remarkable memoir...an incredibly moving read. I had to put the book down several times to cry...it's a book that will save lives.

Sathnam Sanghera

The best memoirs take the reader on two journeys: one journey is to a greater understanding of the author; the other is to a greater understanding of yourself and the society around you. A Dutiful Boy is one such book. It is the story of a young boy growing up in a devout Muslim family in east London who knew he was gay but who also knew such an admission was inconceivable in a religious culture where homosexuality was still taboo. This is the story of a family's love, a battle with shame and a long journey to acceptance. It is deeply moving and profoundly important and it made me cry. Mohsin is such an impressive person: the first from his comprehensive school to go to Oxbridge, he is now a highly regarded barrister but DAMMIT the man can write too. If you liked The Boy with the Topknot by Sathnam Sanghera or Educated by Tara Westover, you will also love this book. Thank you Mohsin, for having the courage to tell this story.

Elizabeth Day

An incredibly moving memoir

Elizabeth Day, Mail on Sunday

A captivating, eloquent and genuinely inspiring memoir... Beautifully written, dignified and ultimately redemptive, this challenging story abounds with light and love


Utterly compelling, I couldn't put the book down, and at times I laughed out loud. I also cried

Ashish Ghadiali, Guardian

A Dutiful Boy details in a delicate and highly engrossing fashion the battles he [Zaidi] was forced to wage every step of the way - both with those around him, and deep within himself


Reading this story about family acceptance, redemption and love, written with such lucidity, had me crying with relief and filling up with hope.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Heartfelt, emotional and really funny....this book is very candid and it really educated and entertained me

Russell Tovey

A powerful memoir... Zaidi's writing offers poignant reflections on racism and class... his journey to acceptance shines through in the openness and clarity of his writing.

The i

Sad, painful, warm, revelatory and utterly fascinating. I think we would live in a slightly kinder and better country if everyone read this book.

Mark Haddon, New Statesman

This is a fiercely important book with a big beating heart-Mohsin Zaidi has delivered to us a deeply personal story that is an urgent manual for our times.

Tope Folarin, Author of 'A Particular Kind of Black Man'

A Dutiful Boy is a must read that will undoubtedly move you

Gay Times

[A] powerful read

Manisha Talagala, DESIblitz

Deeply affecting and often funny, A Dutiful Boy is an honest picture of what it is like to grow up day and Muslim in twenty-first-century Britain

Sarah Jilani, Times Literary Supplement

A beautifully written book, a lovely story, life-affirming.

Jeremy Vine

One of the most eloquent and inspiring memoirs of recent years... A Dutiful Boy is real-life storytelling at its finest

Mr Porter, *Summer Reads of 2021*

Mohsin Zaidi...in a compassionate, compelling and humorous way, tells his story of seeking acceptance within the gay community, and within the Muslim community in which he grew up

Gilllian Carty, Scottish Legal News

A powerful portrayal of being able to live authentically despite all the odds

Mike Findlay, Scotsman

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