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Celebrating the 2021 Best Audiobooks with Narrator Interviews

AudioFile Magazine has been celebrating our picks for the year's Best Audiobooks all month long here on our website and on our Behind the Mic podcast. We have interviews with nine outstanding narrators that give you a chance to hear more about some of this year's best listening. 

Harlem Shuffle
Dion Graham

First, Dion Graham was on with Michele Cobb to talk about narrating HARLEM SHUFFLE, Colson Whitehead's historical heist novel and one of AudioFile's picks for the best of this year's Fiction audiobooks. Dion tells how his own knowledge of the neighborhoods and locations in New York City informed his performance, and how he makes the story come to life for listeners. 

Under a White Sky
Rebecca Lowman

Narrator Rebecca Lowman came on to tell Robin Whitten about narrating UNDER A WHITE SKY: The Nature of the Future, one of the best Nonfiction & Culture audiobooks of the year. Rebecca is able to convey all of Elizabeth Kolbert's sense of immediacy, while also bringing energy and intelligence to the task. Rebecca tells Robin about the work that goes into narrating a nonfiction work about our changing environment. 

Richard Ferrone

Narrator Richard Ferrone joined Michele to discuss OCEAN PREY, one of the year's Best Mystery & Suspense audiobooks. It's John Sandford's 31st audiobook in his Prey series, and Richard tells Michele about narrating a long-running series full of action-packed scenes that will keep listeners on edge. 

Isabella Star LaBlanc

Isabella Star LaBlanc joined Robin Whitten to discuss Angeline Boulley's thrilling debut Young Adult audiobook, FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER. This pick for one of the best Young Adult audiobooks was Isabella's start in audiobook narration, and she tells Robin what stayed with her from performing this powerful story. It's a thriller, romance, and action adventure told with heartfelt compassion. 

Ray Porter

Shifting gear into hyperdrive, narrator Ray Porter joined Michele to discuss PROJECT HAIL MARY, Andy Weir's latest sci-fi bestseller. PROJECT HAIL MARY is one of our best Science Fiction & Fantasy audiobooks, and it's a thrilling interstellar adventure. Ray gives Michele an inside glimpse into preparing the many voices populating this space opera.

Eartha & Kitt
Karen Chilton

Narrator Karen Chilton joined Robin to discuss one of the year's best memoirs, EARTHA & KITT, sharing her insights into bringing Kitt Shapiro's moving words to life. Karen gives their story a superb and moving performance, and she tells Robin about how her background in jazz informed her approach to this memoir about growing up with entertainment icon Eartha Kitt. 

Black Boy Joy
Amir Abdullah

Narrator Amir Abdullah joined Michele to talk about narrating the lively and endearing middle-grade collection edited by Kwame Mbalia, BLACK BOY JOY. It's one of our best Children & Family Listening audiobooks, and it celebrates the power of joy in Black boys' lives, as told through stories by 17 Black male and non-binary authors. Amir, who co-narrated the audiobook with Taj Leahy, tells Michele about the fun of narrating audiobooks for kids, and the special preparation that went into voicing so many characters and stories. 

Facing the Mountain
Louis Ozawa

Narrator Louis Ozawa joined Robin to tell about the impact of narrating FACING THE MOUNTAIN, one of this year's best History & Biography audiobooks. Daniel James Brown's examination of Japanese American heroes in World War II comes to life with Louis's narration and shines a much-needed light on the way those of Japanese heritage were treated during WWII. Louis tells Robin about what stayed with him after narrating the audiobook. 

The Heart Principle
Natalie Naudus

Our final interview was with Natalie Naudus, who told Michele about narrating Helen Hoang's THE HEART PRINCIPLE, one of this year's best Romance audiobooks, which she co-narrated with Brian Nishii. Natalie tells Michele what she enjoys about narrating romance audiobooks, and how she prepared for the intense emotional journey of this story.

Thank you to each of the narrators who took time to tell AudioFile's listeners all about bringing our favorite audiobooks to life. Tune in to our Behind the Mic podcast all year to hear about excellent audiobook listening from AudioFile's editors and contributors with short daily episodes, and don't miss our special bonus interviews for more in-depth dives into the art of audiobooks. 

Dion Graham photo by Max Flatow, Richard Ferrone photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images, Isabella Star LaBlanc photo by Nicole Feest, Ray Porter photo by Travis Hodges, Karen Chilton photo by James Alexander, Amir Abdullah photo by Patrick Maus.

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