Audie Awards Announce Audiobook of the Year and Distinguished Achievement in Production Finalists

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced its Audie finalists for the prestigious Audiobook of the Year and Distinguished Achievement in Production awards. The winners will be named at the Audies Gala awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at the New-York Historical Society in New York City. Comedian, actor, writer and director Michael Showalter will emcee the event.

Emerging from a field of stellar nominees chosen from a record-setting number of submissions, the four Audiobook of the Year finalist selections attained a trifecta of achievement: unparalleled listening experiences; creative, innovative and effective marketing; and significant sales impact on the audiobook industry. The finalists are:

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones and a full cast (HarperAudio)

Bossypants, written and narrated by Tina Fey (Hachette Audio)

Go the F**k to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (Audible)

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, narrated by Dylan Baker with an introduction by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio)

The Distinguished Achievement in Production Award is bestowed upon the audiobook that best represents exceptional quality in production through direction, performance and appropriateness to the audiobook format. This year’s finalists represent a diverse mix of genres and styles, offering listeners engaging and evocative listening experiences ranging from poetry to classic radio drama.
 
The Mark of Zorro, by Yuri Rasovsky, narrated by Val Kilmer and a full cast (Zorro Productions, Inc., and Blackstone Audio, Inc.)

She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems, selected, introduced and narrated by Caroline Kennedy and a full cast (Hyperion Audio)

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, by Allan Wolf, narrated by Michael Page, Phil Gigante, Christopher Lane, Laural Merlington and Angela Dawe (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio)

The Witches of Lublin, by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz and Yale Strom, Narrated by Tovah Feldshuh, Neil Gaiman, Simon Jones, Barbara Rosenblat, Elizabeth Boskey, Joanne Borts, Yelena Shmulenson, Joyce Feurring, Tim Jerome and a full cast (SueMedia Productions)

This award recognizes a production that represents the best the format has to offer in listening excellence.

“This year has truly shattered the sound barrier,” said Ellen Myrick, chair of the Audies judging committee, citing the record number of submissions and high quality of nominated titles in all categories. “This year’s finalists have most certainly won new fans to the format by the thousands.”

The 2012 judging panel has provided their comments and insight into the selection of these prestigious finalists:

Audiobook of the Year Finalists:

American Gods(HarperAudio)
“Neil Gaiman is no stranger to Audiobook of the Year—his brooding and bewitching Graveyard Book is a past winner in this category. The 2012 full-cast production of American Gods celebrates the 10th anniversary of the original publication of Neil Gaiman’s landmark novel with a flawless production. The substantial text revisions combined with the full-cast recording creates a new and not-to-be-missed audio experience for his millions of fans. An impressive interactive marketing endeavor for the title included a contest, which gave one lucky winner a walk-on narration role, with personal coaching from Gaiman himself.”

Bossypants (Hachette Audio)
Bossypants by Tina Fey delivers on all fronts. Fey's performance of her book is a knockout; to hear her tell the story of her life is like going out for coffee with an old, and very, very funny friend. Her stellar performance is matched by smart marketing that ranges from traditional print media to social media to a very nifty audio button that is sure to be a template for the industry. It's not surprising that Bossypants is the biggest seller in Hachette Audio's history.”

Go the F**k to Sleep (Audible)
“With its clever marketing campaign, historic sales figures and the inspired casting of narrator Samuel L. Jackson, Go the F**k to Sleep seems destined to be a finalist for Audiobook of the Year. Audible's fastest-selling title of all time was also one of the most-talked-about audiobooks of the year, with Jackson's profanity-laced performance backed up by a lilting lullaby melody going viral and the actor promoting his reading of Go the F**k to Sleep on The Late Show with David Letterman—a first for the audio industry.”

Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster Audio)
Steve Jobs has been a publishing phenomenon this year and presented a special challenge to the team creating the audiobook when the publication date was moved up several months. Revisions and additions made the task of simultaneous release seem unreachable but the crack team from reader to director and editor achieved their goal. It was worth it—the audiobook continues to see outstanding sales success both in velocity and duration. The marketing seamlessly and successfully combined new and traditional efforts, including a scannable code that gave browsers the opportunity to access immediate audio insight into the Steve Jobs story.”

Distinguished Achievement in Production:

The Mark of Zorro (Zorro Productions, Inc. and Blackstone Audio, Inc)
The Mark of Zorro captures the pleasures of old-time radio drama, with compelling characters played with unflagging energy by the star-studded cast. Val Kilmer nails the double-role of Zorro/Diego, radiating swashbuckling charm with the one and sophisticated ennui with the other, and Ruth Livier conveys saucy charisma as his paramour Lolita. Overall, it’s a beautifully-produced lighthearted escape, a final offering from the late, great audiobook producer, Yuri Rasovsky.”

She Walks in Beauty (Hyperion Audio)
“Throughout her lifetime, Caroline Kennedy has found solace, humor and insight in the world's best poetry.  The selections presented in She Walks in Beauty range from the Song of Solomon to Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and follow the touchstones of women's lives from friendship, work and falling in love, to motherhood and growing older. Read with ease, clarity and crispness, the meanings, rhythms and nuances in many of these gems are revealed, presenting a collection worthy of repeat listening.”

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio)
The Watch That Ends the Night is a powerful example of a great book made even better by audio interpretation. This full-cast recording tells the story of the Titanic in the voices of those who lived it, from the captain of the ship to a Lebanese stowaway and even the iceberg that precipitated the disaster. The creative addition of sound effects—the telegraph machine, the sounds of the ship going down—make the moments of raw emotion exceptionally real.”  

The Witches of Lublin (SueMedia Productions)
“A star-studded cast, lead by Tovah Feldshuh and Barbara Rosenblat, transports listeners back to Lublin, Poland, in 1797 as Passover approaches and danger threatens a group of Jewish musicians, all female, who have attracted the attention of a tyrannical ruler. Filled with traditional klezmer music, The Witches of Lublin, written and performed as a radio drama, provocatively combines history and religion with myth and mysticism in an unforgettable drama.”

For more information on covering the Audies, contact Kaitlin Friedmann at (609) 297-2215, or kfriedmann@audiopub.org. To purchase a ticket, visit the APA website at www.audiopub.org or contact Lindsay Piccolella at (609) 799-6327.  
 


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