Audio Publishers Association Names 25th Anniversary Audie Awards

In News by Porter Anderson

The journalist and author Garrett Graff’s ‘The Only Plane in the Sky’—on the attacks of 9/11—wins the Audiobook of the Year prize for Simon & Schuster Audio.

Author and journalist Garrett Graff speaks at the 25th Audie Awards ceremony in New York City. Simon & Schuster Audio’s production of his September release, ‘The Only Plane in the Sky,’ won the 2020 Audiobook of the Year Audie. At right with him on the podium is Holter Graham, who is heard as part of a 45-voice cast on the recording. Image: Audio Publishers Association, Patrick McMullan, Getty Images

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

King: ‘I Listen to My Own Books’
Announced overnight at its sold-out gala at Guastavino’s in New York City,, the US-based the Audio Publishers Association (APA) has named its list of 2020 Audie Awards in 24 categories of competition.

The Audies, of course, recognize the work of authors, narrators, publishers, and producers across a wide array of genres and categories.

As you may recall from our story on the finalists, submissions to the program this year numbered more than 1,300 titles, organizers say in today’s media messaging. Finalists are selected by jurors with experience in the field. Each category has one winner.

The jurors who chose The Only Plane in the Sky as this year’s Audiobook of the Year based their selection on criteria such as narrative performance and author intent.

Juror Eric Thomas, as part of the panel’s rationale, said, “Graff has created a historical document with the deftness of a poet and this production only builds on it, adding a narrative propulsion that never seems exploitative and an emotional depth that’s never overwrought.”

Graff is the Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program director. His articles are read at Wired, and he’s a frequent contributor to CNN’s coverage of political issues and events. His The Only Plane in the Sky brings together the memories of more than 500 people of the events of September 9, 2001.

At this writing, the audiobook stands at No. 2 in the Terrorism category in Amazon’s Audible books and originals.

The program also included a lifetime achievement award for Stephen King. His son, the author Joe Hill, said in an introduction, “Stephen King is the best damn ambassador for audiobooks anyone could ever wish or hope for. His love for the form goes back decades. I know. I was there.”

In his acceptance speech, King said, in part, “I listen to my own books. The reason why is because you can hear everything you did right and everything you did wrong. This is the most honorable form of storytelling there is.”

King’s The Institute, narrated by Santino Fontana, also won the Thriller and Suspense category, another one in Simon & Schuster Audio’s roster.

Finalists in the annual competition were selected by jurors experienced in the field, and one winner is awarded the Audie in each category. Mo Rocca hosted.

Michele Cobb is the executive director of the Audio Publishers Association.

Stephen King at the 2020 Audie Awards, in which he was given a lifetime achievement honor and won in the Thriller and Suspense category. Image: Audio Publishers Association, Patrick McMullan, Getty Images

2020 Audie Award Winners

Audiobook of the Year

  • 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

 Audio Drama

  • 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 


  • Becoming, written and narrated by Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Best Female Narrator

  • Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, narrated by Marin Ireland, published by HarperAudio

Best Male Narrator

  • Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny, narrated by Robert Bathurst, published by Macmillan Audio

Business/Personal Development

  • So You Want to Start a Podcast?, written and narrated by Kristen Meinzer, published by HarperAudio

Faith-Based Fiction and Nonfiction

  • How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim, narrated by Tavia Gilbert, published by Oasis Audio


  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, narrated by January LaVoy, published by Hachette Audio


  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, narrated by Blair Brown, published by Penguin Random House Audio


  • American Moonshot by Douglas Brinkley, narrated by Stephen Graybill, published by HarperAudio


  • 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

Literary Fiction and Classics

  • 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

Multi-Voiced Performance

  • 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 Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup, narrated by Peter Noble, published by HarperAudio

Narration by Author or Authors

  • With the Fire on High, written and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo, published by HarperAudio


  • Grace Will Lead Us Home by Jennifer Berry Hawes, narrated by Karen Chilton and Jennifer Berry Hawes, 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


  • Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas, narrated by Mary Jane Wells, published by HarperAudio

Science Fiction

  • Emergency Skin by NK Jemisin, narrated by Jason Isaacs, published by Brilliance Publishing

Short Stories/Collections

  • 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


  • The Institute by Stephen King, narrated by Santino Fontana, published by Simon & Schuster Audio 

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

Young Listeners 

  • The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!, written and narrated by Mo Willems, published by Weston Woods

The Audies are a program of the Audio Publishers Association.

In the most recent offered StatShot report from the Association of American Publishers for November, downloaded audio represented 7.9 percent of the United States’ book market overall.

Audience members at the 2020 Audie Awards at Guastavino’s in New York City. Image: Audio Publishers Association, Patrick McMullan, Getty Images

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 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.