2017 Audiobook of the Year Audie Award Finalists

As co-chair of the Audie Awards, I am thrilled to announce the finalists for Audiobook of the Year and for Excellence in Design, Excellence in Marketing, and Excellence in Production, the premier levels of industry honors bestowed by the Audio Publishers Association. You can check out the full roster of the other Audie Award nominees here. The winner of the Audiobook of the Year will be announced by comedian Paula Poundstone at the live-streamed Audie Awards Gala on June 1, 2017, which will take place at the French Institute/Alliance Française in New York City. You can catch Poundstone’s hilarious take on all things audio when she emceed last year’s ceremony here.

And now, the announcements!

 

Audiobook of the Year recognizes the audiobook that through quality, innovation, marketing, and sales has had the most significant impact on the industry. Each nominated title is distinguished by excellence in production, as well as their ability to create new interest in the audiobook format through creative marketing. To follow are the finalists, linked to their Booklist reviews when available and accompanied by comments from this year’s judges about their selections.

 

Boys in the Trees AudioBoys in the Trees, written and narrated by Carly Simon, published by Macmillan Audio

Musical icon Carly Simon’s revelatory memoir Boys in the Trees is best experienced as an audiobook, read with affecting sincerity by the author and supplemented by more than 400 musical segments. As Simon sings snippets of songs, strums her guitar, shares her childhood memories, and reveals relationships with legends including ex-husband James Taylor, listeners feel she is expressing her deepest feelings directly into our ears. Simon personally advocated for the audiobook through marketing that included a Facebook Live event, promotion on Pandora and the artist’s webpage, plus an audiobook giveaway to audience members during a Late Show with Stephen Colbert appearance.

 

Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo AudioThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, written and narrated by Amy Schumer, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Amy Schumer’s stand-up fans will both laugh out loud and be moved to empathetic understanding as she reads her memoir The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. Schumer displays her comedic skill and fast-paced timing as she packs raw humor into the narration, while also confiding deeply personal emotions that have shaped her personal advocacy for ending gun violence and promoting healthy relationships and positive self-image. Schumer’s celebrity status and huge social media following expanded the marketing outreach, and a Spoken Word Grammy nomination provided further national recognition for an audiobook that had already achieved dazzling consumer sales.

 

Hamilton the Revolution AudioHamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, narrated by Mariska Hargitay, with the authors, published by Hachette Audio

The phenomenon that is Hamilton spreads to the audiobook world with Hamilton: The Revolution, a must-have insider’s guide to the making of the musical. Read by super-fan Mariska Hargitay, the audio takes listeners on a journey from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s poolside reading of Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, to Broadway success and propulsion into the zeitgeist. Fans will especially appreciate Miranda’s reading of his annotations, from the very first revelation that the distinctive three-note intro mimics a squeaky door. Just as the musical has expanded the audience for musical theatre, this audiobook has won new fans to the world of audiobooks, thanks in no small part to Miranda’s devoted social media following.

 

Underground Railroad AudioThe Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin, published by Penguin Random House Audio / Books on Tape

Colson Whitehead’s literary bestseller The Underground Railroad finds the ideal narrator in Bahni Turpin. Voicing a complex cast of characters, Turpin conveys the bitter realities of the antebellum South through evocative accents, emotional resonance, and subtle pacing, enhanced by strong production quality. The marketing campaign highlighted the title’s selection as an Oprah Book Club pick, noted the significance of the audio during Black History Month, and featured Turpin representing the author at the National Book Award annual reading (honoring the title’s selection as the 2017 fiction award-winner), becoming the first narrator to participate in the ceremony.

 

Year of Yes AudioYear of Yes, written and narrated by Shonda Rhimes, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

In Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes, known to legions of TV fans for her creative productions Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, highlights the transformative power of saying “yes” to experiences outside her comfort zone. In a production that is both memoir and self-help, Rhimes reveals the fears and tribulations behind her Hollywood veneer, and her appealing no-nonsense style creates an immediate connection encouraging personal empowerment. Through a social media campaign that appealed to a diverse range of listeners, this audio pulled in both new and returning fans of the audio format.

 

The winners of the three Excellence Awards will be announced at the Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC) on May 31, 2017, in New York. Here are the five finalists competing for Excellence in Design, which recognizes product design for packaging or display art:

 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, design by David Drummond, published by Audible Studios

 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, design by Levente Szabo, published by Audible Studios

 

Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama, by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs, design by James Jackson, published by Audible Studios

 

Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley, design by Jessica Daigle, published by HighBridge/Recorded Books


Grimm’s Fairy Tales
by the Brothers Grimm, design by Divya Srinivasan, published by Listening Library

 

The five finalists competing for Excellence in Marketing, which recognizes the promotion campaign that contributed most to generating attention and bringing new listeners to spoken audio, are:


Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama, 
by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs, narrated by Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, Kathryn Drysdale, Laurel Lefkow, Andrea Deck, and Mac McDonald, published by Audible Studios

 

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, by L. Ron Hubbard, narrated by Josh Clark, Scott Menville, Jim Meskimen, Phil Proctor, Stefan Rudnicki, Fred Tatasciore and a full cast, published by Galaxy Audio

 

Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, by Pappy Pariah, narrated by Sean Penn, published by Audible Studios

 

The Dispatcher, by John Scalzi, narrated by Zachary Quinto, published by Audible Studios

 

Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, narrated by Mariska Hargitay, with the authors, published by Hachette Audio

 

The six titles competing for Excellence in Production, which represents the best the format has to offer in listening excellence are:

 

Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama, by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs, narrated by Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, Kathryn Drysdale, Laurel Lefkow, Andrea Deck, and Mac McDonald, published by Audible Studios

 

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, by L. Ron Hubbard, narrated by Josh Clark, Scott Menville, Jim Meskimen, Phil Proctor, Stefan Rudnicki, Fred Tatasciore, and a full cast, published by Galaxy Audio

 

Beric the Briton, by G.A. Henty. narrated by Brian Blessed, Brian Cox, Tom Baker, Honeysuckle Weeks, John Rhys-Davies, and a full cast, published by Heirloom Audio Productions

 

The Oedipus Plays: An Audible Original Drama, by Sophocles, narrated by Jamie Glover, Hayley Atwell, Michael Maloney, Samantha Bond, Julian Glover and David Horovitch, published by Audible Studios

 

The Secret History of Twin Peaks, by Mark Frost, narrated by a full cast, published by Macmillan Audio

 

A Wild Swan, by Michael Cunningham, narrated by Lili Taylor and Billy Hough, published by Macmillan Audio

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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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