Audio Publishers Association Names 2020 Audie Award Finalists

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The United States’ most prominent awards program for audiobooks, the Audie Awards, turns 25 this year with a 24-category shortlist of finalists.

Image – iStockphoto: Daniel Besic

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Winners Named on March 2
Announced today (February 3) by the US-based the Audio Publishers Association (APA), the 2020 Audie Awards program this year features 24 categories of competition.

audie awards 2020Submissions to the program this year numbered more than 1,300 titles, organizers say in today’s media messaging. Finalists are selected by a judges with experience in the field. Each category has one winner.

Winners are to be named at an event on March 2 at Guastavino’s in New York City, hosted by CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Mo Rocca. Jurors expected to be on hand for the event include authors Emma Straub and Adam Silvera, and Elle senior staff writer R. Eric Thomas.

This is the awards program’s 25 year, and the APA plans to have its March gala include a lifetime achievement award for Stephen King—who made news over the weekend by announcing that he’s canceling his Facebook account because of its refusal to fact-check political advertising and because he’s not “confident in [Facebook’s] ability to protect its users’ privacy.” A report on that news from Zack Budryk is at The Hill.

The audiobook edition of King’s The Institute from Simon & Schuster Audio is also a finalist in the Thriller/Suspense category.

The association reports that seats for the Audie Awards program on March 2 have sold out.

In a prepared statement provided to the news media for today’s announcement, APA president Anna Maria Allessi is quoted offering her “congratulations to all who have contributed their varied talents in support of these marvelous recordings.”

Mary Burkey, who chairs the awards for the APA, says, “It’s been an awesome year for audiobooks, with not just a huge boost in popularity but also a substantial increase in the variety and production quality of Audie submissions.

“We’re grateful for the expertise of our amazing roster of 250 Audie judges from a broad range of backgrounds who commit to tight deadlines and a hefty listening load, some with more than 500 hours under the headphones this year.

“Many judges remarked,” Burkey is quoted saying, “that the 2020 Audie Awards finalists reflect a ‘golden age'” of strong audio content.

Michele Cobb is the executive director of the Audio Publishers Association. Finalists in the annual competition are selected by a diverse group of experienced judges and one winner is awarded the Audie in each category.

2020 Audie Awards Finalists

Audiobook of the Year

  • Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner, narrated by Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Susan Brown, Denise Gough and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Becoming, written and narrated by Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, narrated by Meryl Streep and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks, published by HarperAudio
  • The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff, narrated by a full cast with Holter Graham, published by Simon & Schuster Audio
  • The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mae Whitman, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal, and Margaret Atwood, published by Penguin Random House Audio

 Audio Drama

  • The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne, performed by James Lecesne, published by Audible Originals
  • Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner, performed by Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Susan Brown, Denise Gough, Beth Malone, James McArdle, Lee Pace, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Bobby Cannavale, and Edie Falco, published by Penguin Random House Audio 
  • Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely, performed by Andi Arndt, Sebastian York, January LaVoy, Julia Whelan, R.C. Bray, Shane East, Joe Arden, Erin Mallon, Dion Graham, Savannah Peachwood, Jason Clarke, and Robin Miles, published by Lauren Blakely Books 
  • Have a Nice Day by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples, performed by Justin Bartha, Annette Bening, Dick Cavett, Auli’l Cravalho, Billy Crystal, Rachel Dratch, Darrell Hammond, Christopher Jackson, Kevin Kline, Robin Thede, and a full cast, published by Audible Originals 
  • Puss in Boots by Neil Fishman, Harvey Edelman, and Khristine Hvam, performed by Jim Dale, Mark Aldrich, Barret Leddy, Nick Sullivan, Brian Holden, Al Fallick, Lisa Livesay, Meredith Inglesby, Lynn Norris, John E. Brady, and Johnny Heller, published by HarperAudio

Autobiography/Memoir

  • Becoming, written and narrated by Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • From Scratch, written and narrated by Tembi Locke, published by Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Me: Elton John Official Autobiography by Elton John, narrated by Taron Egerton and Elton John, published by Macmillan Audio
  • MotherStruck!, written and narrated by Staceyann Chin, published by Audible Originals
  • Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood, written and narrated by Andrew Rannells, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Best Female Narrator

  • All the Lost Things by Michelle Sacks, narrated by Cassandra Morris, published by Hachette Audio
  • The Boy by Tami Hoag, narrated by Hillary Huber, published by Brilliance Publishing
  • Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, narrated by Marin Ireland, published by HarperAudio
  • Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante, narrated by Rachel Atkins, published by Zaffle
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, narrated by January LaVoy, published by Hachette Audio

Best Male Narrator

  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks, published by HarperAudio
  • Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer, narrated by Robert Petkoff, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny, narrated by Robert Bathurst, published by Macmillan Audio
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, narrated by JD Jackson, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams, narrated by Peter Capaldi, published by Blackstone Publishing

Business/Personal Development

  • The Barefoot Spirit by Michael Houlihan, Bonnie Harvey, and Rick Kushman, narrated by Alamada Karatihy and a Full Cast featuring Ed Asner, published by Footnotes Press
  • Calm the F*ck Down, written and narrated by Sarah Knight, published by Hachette Audio
  • Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World, written and narrated by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, published by Gildan Media, a division of Recorded Books
  • So You Want to Start a Podcast?, written and narrated by Kristen Meinzer, published by HarperAudio
  • Wolfpack, written and narrated by Abby Wambach, published by Macmillan Audio

Faith-Based Fiction and Nonfiction

  • Breathe Again, written and narrated by Niki Hardy, published by Oasis Audio
  • Conscious, written and narrated by Annaka Harris, published by HarperAudio
  • Dare to See, written and narrated by Katie Brown, published by Hachette Audio
  • How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim, narrated by Tavia Gilbert, published by Oasis Audio
  • Jezebel: The Prequel by Jacquelin Thomas, narrated by Janina Edwards, published by The Audio Flow LLC

Fantasy

  • Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell, narrated by Alana Kerr-Collins and Tim Campbell, published by Blackstone Publishing
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, narrated by Dion Graham, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, narrated by Michael David Axtell and Lauren Fortgang, published by Macmillan Audio
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, narrated by January LaVoy, published by Hachette Audio
  • Time’s Children by D.B. Jackson, narrated by Helen Keeley, published by Dreamscape Media, LLC

Fiction

  • The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer, narrated by Therese Plummer, published by Hachette Audio
  • Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris, narrated by Louise Brealey, published by Macmillan Audio
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, narrated by Blair Brown, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Colombiano by Rusty Young, narrated by Rusty Young and Brian J. Ramos, published by Bolinda Publishing
  • The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell, narrated by Karina Fernandez, published by Dreamscape Media

History/Biography

  • American Moonshot by Douglas Brinkley, narrated by Stephen Graybill, published by HarperAudio
  • The First Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch, narrated by Scott Brick, published by Macmillan Audio 
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep, narrated by Hillary Huber, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • The Queen by Josh Levin, narrated by January LaVoy, published by Hachette Audio
  • Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense by Dan Abrams and David Fisher, narrated by Roger Wayne and Dan Abrams, published by Harlequin

Humor

  • Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life written by Ali Wong, narrated by Ali Wong and Justin Hakuta, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Idiot, written and narrated by Laura Clery, published by Simon & Schuster Audio
  • More Bedtime Stories for Cynics by Kirsten Kearse, Gretchen Enders, Aparna Nancherla, Cirocco Dunlap, and Dave Hill, narrated by Nick Offerman, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Ellen Page, Jane Lynch, John Waters, Anjelica Huston, Wendell Pierce, Mike Birbiglia, Rachel Dratch, Matt Walsh, Nicole Byer, Harry Goaz, Aisling Bea, and Gary Anthony Williams, published by Audible Originals
  • Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations, written and narrated by Craig Ferguson, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • A Woman First: First Woman, written and narrated by Selina Meyer, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Literary Fiction and Classics

  • Milkman by Anna Burns, narrated by Brid Brennan, published by Dreamscape Media
  • Mythos, written and narrated by Stephen Fry, published by Chronicle Books
  • The Night Tiger, written and narrated by Yangsze Choo, published by Macmillan Audio
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by Jacqueline Woodson, with Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Peter Francis James, Shayna Small, and Bahni Turpin, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, narrated by Joe Morton, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Middle Grade

  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, narrated by Meryl Streep and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft, narrated by Jerry Craft, Jesus Del Orden, Nile Bullock, Robin Miles, Guy Lockard, Peyton Lusk, Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, Phoebe Strole, Marc Thompson, Miles Harvey, and Ron Butler, published by HarperAudio
  • Our Castle by the Sea, written and narrated by Lucy Strange, published by Scholastic Audio
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, narrated by Almarie Guerra and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart, narrated by Khristine Hvam, published by Macmillan Audio

Multi-Voiced Performance

  • 200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World by Geoff Blackwell, Ruth Hobday, Sharon Gelman, Marianne Lassandro, and Kieran Scott, narrated by a full cast, published by Chronicle Books
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, Pablo Schreiber, and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars) by Cavan Scott, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, Marc Thompson, Pete Bradbury, Jonathan Davis, Neil Hellegers, Sean Kenin, January LaVoy, Saskia Maarleveld, Carol Monda, Robert Petkoff, and Rebecca Soler, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, narrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jeanne Birdsall, Richard Ferrone, Jenna Lamia, and a full cast, published by Scholastic Audio
  • The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff, narrated by a full cast with Holter Graham, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Mystery

  • Along Came a Spider (25 anniversary edition) by James Patterson, narrated by Taye Diggs, published by Hachette Audio
  • The Boy by Tami Hoag, narrated by Hillary Huber, published by Brilliance Publishing
  • The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup, narrated by Peter Noble, published by HarperAudio
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper, narrated by Stephen Shanahan, published by Macmillan Audio
  • The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke, narrated by Will Patton, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Narration by Author or Authors

  • Becoming, written and narrated by Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Inside Out, written and narrated by Demi Moore, published by HarperAudio 
  • Madame Badobedah, written and narrated by Sophie Dahl, published by Bolinda Publishing
  • Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future, written and narrated by Pete Buttigieg, published by HighBridge Audio, a division of Recorded Books
  • With the Fire on High, written and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo, published by HarperAudio

Nonfiction

  • Grace Will Lead Us Home by Jennifer Berry Hawes, narrated by Karen Chilton and Jennifer Berry Hawes, published by Macmillan Audio
  • Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves by Frans de Waal, narrated by L.J. Ganser, published by Recorded Books
  • The Perfect Predator by Steffanie Strathdee, Thomas Patterson, and Teresa Barker, narrated by Christine Lakin with Dan Woren, published by Hachette Audio
  • Talking to Strangers, written and narrated by Malcolm Gladwell, published by Hachette Audio
  • We Are the Weather, written and narrated by Jonathan Safran Foer, published by Macmillan Audio

Original Work

  • Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar, narrated by Nick Choksi, Harsh Nayaar, Annapurna Sriram, Bernard White, and Rita Wolf, published by Audible Originals
  • I Eat Men Like Air by Alice Berman, narrated by Elizabeth Evans, published by Audible Originals
  • Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical by Stephanie Bentley and Miranda Ray, narrated by Stephanie Bentley, Carolyn Jania and Henry Kaiser, with additional vocals from Christiana Lynette and Aaron Wilson, published by ACX
  • Nevertheless We Persisted: Me Too by Em Jae, E., Deepti Gupta, Suzanne Barbetta, Dee, Samantha MacLeod, Bronwyn Green, Rachel Fulginiti, Mary Caroline Smith, Jackie Rosenfeld, Tor Thom, Francesca Amari, Charlotte, Samantha Greene, Rachel Wisley, K.E. White, Emily Lawrence, Kali, Marie Christy, Carol Schneider, Anonymous, Sal, and Sahana Kumar, performed by: Christa Lewis, Tanya Eby, Neil Hellegers, Emily Beresford, Hillary Huber, Deepti Gupta, Suzanne Barbetta, Beth Stewart, Madeleine Maby, Tavia Gilbert, Lisa Flanagan, Rachel Fulginiti, Donna Postel, Carly Robins, Tor Thom, Nicol Zanzarella, Caitlin Kelly, Erin Mallon, Karen White, Francesca Amari, Emily Lawrence, Megan Tusing, Cassandra Campbell, Carol Schneider, Sal, Lauri Jo Daniels, and Siiri Scott, chorus performed by Lauri Jo Daniels, Matt Godfrey, Amanda Dolan, Melissa Moran, Khristine Hvam, Jesse Vilinsky, Andrea Emmes, Ralph Lister, Angie Hickman, Stuart Poltrock, Joe Hempel, Laura Bannister, Natalie Naudus, Greg Tremblay, Elizabeth Wiley, Eve Passeltiner, Rosemary Benson, Emily Durante, Karen Commins, Helen Lloyd, Amy McFadden, Sophie Amoss, Suzanne Elise Freeman, Jane Oppenheimer, Lori Prince, David Stifel, Lacy Laurel, Denice Stradling, Pamela Lorence, Suzie Althens, Kelley Ernst, Becca Ballenger, Lauren Ezzo, Sarah Mollo Christensen, Patrick Lawlor, Carol Jacobanis, Rich Miller, Anne Flosnik, Shiromi Arserio, Meghan Kelly, Kate Rudd, and Caroline McLaughlin, published by Blunder Woman Productions
  • Our Harlem: Seven Days of Cooking, Music and Soul at the Red Rooster by Marcus Samuelsson, narrated by Marcus Samuelsson, published by Audible Originals

Romance

  • The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Dreamscape Media 
  • Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas, narrated by Mary Jane Wells, published by HarperAudio
  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez, narrated by Teddy Hamilton and Erin Mallon, published by Hachette Audio
  • Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper, narrated by Amanda Ronconi, published by Audible Originals
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, narrated by Ramon de Ocampo, published by Macmillan Audio

Science Fiction

  • Emergency Skin by NK Jemisin, narrated by Jason Isaacs, published by Brilliance Publishing
  • Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton, narrated by Robert Petkoff, published by Hachette Audio
  • The Last Astronaut by David Wellington, narrated by Megan Tusing, published by Hachette Audio
  • The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull, narrated by Ron Butler and Janina Edwards, published by Blackstone Publishing
  • Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds, narrated by Natasha Soudek, published by Macmillan Audio

Short Stories/Collections

  • Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Julia Whelan, George Newbern, James Daniels, and Dara Rosenberg, published by Brilliance Publishing
  • Forward by Veronica Roth, Blake Crouch, N.K. Jemisin, Amor Towles, Paul Tremblay, and Andy Weir, narrated by Evan Rachel Wood, Rosa Salazar, Jason Isaacs, David Harbour, Steven Strait, and Janina Gavankar, published by Brilliance Publishing
  • Full Throttle by Joe Hill, narrated by Zachary Quinto, Wil Wheaton, Kate Mulgrew, Neil Gaiman, Ashleigh Cummings, Joe Hill, Laysla De Oliveira, Nate Corddry, Connor Jessup, Stephen Lang, and George Guidall, published by HarperAudio
  • I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying, written and narrated by Bassey Ikpi, published by HarperAudio
  • Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor and Whoopi Goldberg (foreword), narrated by Yetide Badaki, published by Tantor Audio, a division of Recorded Books

Thriller/Suspense

  • Blood in the Water by Jack Flynn, narrated by Dion Graham, published by Recorded Books
  • Freefall by Jessica Barry, narrated by Hillary Huber, Karissa Vacker, and MacLeod Andrews, published by HarperAudio
  • The Institute by Stephen King, narrated by Santino Fontana, published by Simon & Schuster Audio 
  • Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman, narrated by Susan Bennett, published by HarperAudio
  • Winter Dark by Alex Callister, narrated by Ell Potter, published by Audible Originals

Young Adult 

  • Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, narrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jeanne Birdsall, Richard Ferrone, Jenna Lamia, and a full cast, published by Scholastic Audio
  • Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian, narrated by Lauren Ambrose, Vikas Adam, and Michael Crouch, published by HarperAudio
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry, narrated by Jayne Entwistle, Allan Corduner, Julie Berry, and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin, published by HarperAudio
  • With the Fire on High, written and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo, published by HarperAudio

Young Listeners 

  • How to Read a Book, written and narrated by Kwame Alexander, published by HarperAudio
  • The Lion King by Elizabeth Rudnick and Disney Press, narrated by Janina Edwards, published by Blackstone Publishing
  • The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!, written and narrated by Mo Willems, published by Weston Woods
  • Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself, written and narrated by Matthew Gray Gubler, published by Penguin Random House Audio
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, narrated by Lauren Hummingbird, Agalisiga (Choogie) Mackey, Ryan Mackey, Traci Sorell, and Tonia Weavel, published by Live Oak Media
  • The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds, narrated by Guy Lockard, published by Weston Woods

More of Publishing Perspectives’ coverage of audiobooks is here, and more from us on the Audio Publishers Association is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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