Reads Rainbow have pulled together a fantastic list of 100+ new releases coming out in the first half of 2022 🏳️🌈👬 I was already keeping my eye out for a few of these to add to my reading pile, and this list has added a bunch more! Check them out: Book Releases: Ownvoices Achillean Books of January-June 2022
What are Ownvoices Achillean books?
If you’re wondering what this means, I shall try to summarise! They’re both terms I have only come across myself in the past couple of years, so please know that there are much more clever and well-read people with infinitely more nuanced understandings, but I will do my best to define in the context of books.
Stories about diverse characters written by authors who share the same identity (e.g. a book with a gay male main character written by a gay male author).
Umbrella term for male and nonbinary characters who are attracted to men (named after the mythical Ancient Greek warrior Achilles and his relationship with Patroclus).
Other terms/acronyms have narrower definitions and may be more appropriate if trying to highlight a specific group or sub-group. Some might include gay men, bi/bisexual men, pan/pansexual men, queer men, trans/transgender gay/bi/pan men, nb/enby/nonbinary/genderqueer people or acronyms like MM, M/M or MLM, which indicate male-male relationships and men-loving men.
Ownvoices + Achillean
So, ‘Ownvoices Achillean books’ refers to books about male/nb characters who are attracted to men, written by male/nb authors who are attracted to men. The books may or may not have romance storylines, but they do have Achillean main characters.
As an example, I would classify my series of gay romcom novellas (the Rise and Shine series) as Ownvoices Achillean books as they’re stories with gay main characters written by a gay author.
Why does self-identification and book classification matter?
Some authors and readers have strong preferences for particular terms in how we identify ourselves, what we write, and what we read. Some opt for the broadest, most inclusive and all-encompassing terms. Whereas others prefer to identify with the most specific term applicable to themselves and the stories they write and/or read.
Some use a variety of terms together or even interchangeably, and we may identify ourselves differently to different groups. This could depend on a variety of reasons, such as who we are interacting with, how comfortable we feel with them, or how specific we want to be.
I appreciate that the language we use is as diverse as the people who use it, and wherever it falls short the language we use has the flexibility to adapt or develop to include everyone.