Our friends at AudioFile Magazine check out the Audie Award winners:
Last week the Audio Publishers Association presented the 25th annual Audie Awards at a glittery New York City gala hosted by Mo Rocca, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, author and host of the Mobituaries podcast. The panel of celebrity judges--including Adam Silvera, former bookseller and author of They Both Die at the End and Infinity Son; Emma Straub, co-owner of Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y., and author of The Vacationers and Modern Lovers; and R. Eric Thomas, senior staff writer at Elle, playwright and host of The Moth StorySLAMS--gave the evening's top prize, Audiobook of the Year, to The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, published by Simon & Schuster Audio.
Author Garrett Graff's minute-by-minute account of the September 11 attacks is narrated by a cast of 45 actors, led by Holter Graham. The stories and voices of people who experienced the day--from emergency dispatchers and airline personnel to office workers and families--are brilliantly realized as an aural history. The judges praised it as "an extraordinary achievement that takes a gut-wrenching and almost unimaginable text and re-injects its humanness."
Audiobooks with multiple narrators were winners across numerous categories. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, performed by the cast of the National Theatre's 2018 Broadway Revival that included Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield (Penguin Random House Audio), was the Audio Drama Audie winner, as well as a contender for the Audiobook of the Year. Other finalists The Testaments, Margaret Atwood's Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale (Penguin Random House Audio) boasted a cast of six, and Charlotte's Web (Penguin Random House Audio) had a cast of 23, led by Meryl Streep.
Short story collections are often cast with multiple voices. Winners in the Short Stories category--Full Throttle by Joe Hill (HarperAudio)--and in Humor--More Bedtime Stories for Cynics (Audible Originals)--showcased the talents of both celebrity and career narrators. The preference for multiple voices continued to younger listener awards: Hey, Kiddo, Jarrett Krosoczka's graphic memoir adapted to audio (Scholastic Audio), took the Young Adult Audie Award, and Charlotte's Web (Penguin Random House Audio) took home the Middle Grade Audie.
Author Stephen King was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Audio Publishers Association. Celebrating King's longstanding advocacy for audiobooks, his son Joe Hill told the sold-out crowd of publishers, authors, and narrators of his early narrating gig--recording books onto cassettes for his father. King's early insistence that his books be recorded unabridged was a game-changer for audiobook publishers. King also published several stories first-to-audio, and has always promoted his audiobooks alongside his print books. He led the creation of the Haven Foundation, originally the Wavedancer Foundation, established for the benefit of actors and freelance performing artists whose catastrophic accidents or illnesses have left them uninsured and unable to work.
Individual authors and narrators were celebrated throughout the evening, too. Authors Michelle Obama (Becoming, Penguin Random House) and Elizabeth Acevedo (With the Fire on High, HarperAudio) received Audie Awards for their author-narrations. Elizabeth Gilbert's City of Girls narrated by Blair Brown (Penguin Random House Audio), and Ta-Nehisi Coates's The Water Dancer, read by Joe Morton (Penguin Random House Audio), took the top Fiction awards. Nonfiction accolades went to American Moonshot by Douglas Brinkley, read by Stephen Graybill (HarperAudio), and Grace Will Lead Us Home by Jennifer Berry Hawes, narrated by Karen Chilton and the author (Macmillan Audio).
Accolades in the genre categories went to Fantasy: The Ten Thousand Doors of January (Hachette Audio); Mystery: The Chestnut Man (HarperAudio); Romance: Devil's Daughter (HarperAudio); Science Fiction: Emergency Skin (Brilliance Audio). Stephen King fittingly took the Thriller/Suspense category with The Institute (Simon & Schuster Audio). Best Male Narrator Audie went to Robert Bathurst, narrator of Louise Penny's Kingdom of the Blind (Macmillan Audio), and Best Female Narrator was Marin Ireland, narrator of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here (HarperAudio).
The Audie Awards celebrate the audiobook form in its many styles and configurations. Lifetime Achievement honoree King summed it up, "This is the most honorable form of storytelling there is."