In this paper we examine the effects of the #ownvoices movement in the market for, and consumption of, young adult fiction through a focus on the promotional strategies and critical reception of a single book: Australian author Craig Silvey’s most recent young adult novel, Honeybee. Our data included author and publisher media interviews, social media reviews, and literary reviews in mainstream publications. Honeybee was selected as a case study because it has the hallmarks of a nationally influential Australian cultural product: its author has previously written novels that explore themes of discrimination and his works have been adapted for the screen and are considered suitable for study in Australian schools. On the other hand, Silvey, a heterosexual man, made the controversial choice to write from the perspective of a young trans woman. Our analysis found that the identity standpoint of the reader heavily influenced their judgement of the aesthetic quality of the novel, not simply the ethics of appropriating the voice of a marginalized other. Some self-identified LGBTQI+ readers also advocated strongly for a new kind of allyship in the book industry, one that platforms more diverse creators and thus redistributes opportunity in the creative industries.
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