The 2010 Audies

September 7, 2010

And the award goes to…

The Oscars. The Grammys. The Emmys. Sure, the names of the winners may change from year to year but these highly publicized awards have a very sameish quality to them. The same questions on the red carpet i.e. ‘Who are you wearing?’ The same ‘if looks could kill’ smile when someone else is announced as the winner. The same display of feigned surprise as the winner reaches for their acceptance speech. Isn’t it time we paid attention to awards that are a little different? Even, dare we say it, a little more worthy? Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Audies!

What are the Audies?

Since 1996 The Audies have been sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association to recognise excellence in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. The Audies are usually presented in Spring, with awards handed out in around 30 categories. Categories for the 2010 awards, held at the Museum of the City of New York, included fiction and non-fiction, biography/memoir, humor, junior categories, best narration from male and female readers and the big one – Audiobook of the Year.

2010

The winner of the big one in 2010? Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales compiled by the man himself and narrated by an all-star cast including Samuel L Jackson, Don Cheadle and Helen Mirren. Other notable winners in 2010 were Great Expectations in the Classic category, Anne Frank Remembered in the biography/memoir category and Garrison Keillor’s Church People: The Lutherans of Lake Wobegon in the humor division.

Big names, big awards

The Audies generate plenty of star power. Bill Clinton’s My Life was not only a best seller in hardback form – in 2005, the audio version, narrated by President Clinton, won the Audiobook of the Year award. Michael J Fox narrated Lucky Man which won best biography/memoir in 2003. In 2007, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, read by Sissy Spacek, was judged best classic audiobook – Lee’s masterpiece beat a star-studded field of nominees including Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises narrated by William Hurt and The Years by Virginia Woolf, voiced by Finty Williams .

Hall of Fame

Some audio books are more than winners. They’re legends. To recognise audio books of exceptional merit, or those that have had a major impact on the industry, Audies judges established a Hall of Fame in 2001. To date, there are two inductees: The Harry Potter Series in 2006 and The Secret in 2008.

The Audies may never rival the Academy Awards for profile, glitz and glamour. But with more audio books being created every year and with more big names now lending their voices, The Audies will continue to grow in prestige. Nominees might even be asked who they’re wearing – a sure sign that an award ceremony has really made it.

Susan Long is a dedicated fan of audio books as a great alternative to both teach and entertain the kids.  See more of her favourite children’s entertainment items at this Cool Pencil Cases site.

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