Great Listens: Audie Award Winners

Planning a long summer road trip? Why not listen to a great audiobook to make your journey more enjoyable? 

Whether you are an avid listener of  audiobooks or even if you are just starting out, award winning audio titles are a great source of listening options.  After all, a great narration can elevate a book to another level.

The Audie Awards, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), is the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment. Publishers and rights-holders enter titles in various categories for recognition of achievement. Finalists are selected, and from that group one winner is awarded.

Similarly,  the Odyssey Awards are given for excellence in audiobook production for young adults and children.

Here are the winners in a few of the categories (there were 25) of the 2021 Audie awards; these are available to borrow either on Overdrive/Libby or Hoopla.

You can discover winners in more categories from this year and  winners from previous years here.

 Fiction

Such a Fun Age  by Kiley Reid 

Narrated by Nicole Lewis, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who has made a living with her confidence-driven brand. She is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night in their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young Black woman out late with a White child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

History/Biography

His Truth Is Marching On John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham

Narrated by JD Jackson, published by Penguin Random House Audio

An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime US congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present. Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful.

Best Female Narrator and Fantasy 

The City We Became A Novel  by N. K. Jemisin

Narrated by Robin Miles, published by Hachette Audio

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She’s got six.

Faith-Based Fiction & Nonfiction

Fierce, Free and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker

Narrated by Jen Hatmaker, published by Thomas Nelson

No more hiding or people-pleasing up in here, sisters. No more being sidelined in your own life. It is time for us to be brave, to claim our gifts and quirks and emotions. You are set free and set up and set on fire. Now you can get busy doing what you were placed on this planet to do.

Humor

A Very Punchable Face A Memoir by Colin Jost

Narrated by Colin Jost, published by Penguin Random House Audio

In these hilarious essays, the Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update co-anchor learns how to take a beating. From growing up in a family of firefighters on Staten Island to commuting three hours a day to high school, to attending Harvard while Facebook was created, Jost shares how he has navigated the world like a slightly smarter Forrest Gump.

Multi-Voice Performance

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo, Melania-Luisa Marte, published by HarperAudio

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives. Acevedo, also an award-winning narrator, narrates along with Melania-Luisa Marte.

Mystery

Fair Warning Jack McEvoy Series, Book 3 by Michael Connelly

Narrated by Peter Giles, Zach Villa, published by Hachette Audio

Veteran reporter Jack McEvoy has taken down killers before, but when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered in a particularly brutal way, McEvoy realizes he might be facing a criminal mind unlike any he’s ever encountered. Uncovering the murkiest corners of the dark web, Jack races to find and protect the last source who can lead him to his quarry.

Narration by the Author or Authors

More Myself A Journey by Alicia Keys

Narrated by Alicia Keys, published by Macmillan Audio

An intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression.  part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. Alicia shares her quest for truth – about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth. This is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to listeners: To define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity. Features special guest appearances by family and friends, including Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, and Michelle Obama.

Non-Fiction

Fire In Paradise  by Alastair Gee, Dani Anguiano

Narrated by T. Ryder Smith, published by Recorded Books

There is no precedent in postwar American history for the destruction of the town of Paradise, California. On November 8, 2018, the community of 27,000 people was swallowed by the ferocious Camp Fire, which razed virtually every home and killed at least 85 people. Fire in Paradise is a dramatic and moving narrative of the disaster based on hundreds of in-depth interviews with residents, firefighters and police, and scientific experts.

-Archana, Adult Services and Acquisitions Librarian

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