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Toni Morrison by Michael Lionstar

Thank you, Toni Morrison—Celebrating Black Women Authors

Toni Morrison by Michael LionstarEarlier this month, author Toni Morrison turned 88. On her birthday, a new collection of her essays and speeches, THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD, was published. Twenty years ago I was privileged to interview Ms. Morrison for an AudioFile profile. I was terrified—not having a lot of interview experience and talking with such a literary icon had me worried. Of course, Ms. Morrison had done hundreds of interviews and taught at Princeton for many years, so she was gracious and put me at ease. “Toni Morrison sets the gold standard for a writer narrating her own work,” said our reviewer Beth Gutcheon in her review of the 2012 novel HOME. She does indeed, and listeners are blessed be able to listen to the author read SULA, BELOVED, PARADISE, and others. Even her acceptance speech of the 1996 National Book Award for THE DANCING MIND is a treat. Read more…

Cherise Boothe

5 Questions with Cherise Boothe

Cherise BootheSay hello to today’s Take 5 guest, Cherise Boothe, who is one of the queens of collaborative audiobooks. Her voice always gives spark to multicast productions, and I’m impressed with her ability to portray characters of all ages and from different parts of the world.

You may be familiar with Cherise’s youthful voice, which allows her to bring authenticity to children’s books. She is also, however, equally at home performing contemporary culture (THE FIRE THIS TIME), literary fiction (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INTERRACIAL LOVE?), and humor audiobooks (BLACK MAN, WHITE HOUSE).

The audiobooks I feature here underscore the range of Cherise’s solo work, starting with a children’s story and ending with a novel about life under Jim Crow. Read more…

Gaining Insight Through Mysteries

As we close out Black History Month, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of African American authors, narrators, and characters to the mystery/thriller genre. There is such a wealth of audiobooks to focus on.

The Real Cool Killers
Cotton Comes to Harlem

Let’s start with the late author Chester Himes, who wrote a series of nine hardboiled crime novels featuring Harlem detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones set in the 1950s to the late 1960s.  The audiobooks, released in 2011 and 2012, were recorded by Golden Voice narrator Dion Graham and include THE REAL COOL KILLERS and COTTON COMES TO HARLEM (made into a movie in 1970). Read more…

Robin Miles by Jordan Matter

Narrator Robin Miles on the Humility of Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

Robin Miles by Jordan MatterIn our podcast interview with Robin Miles, we learn about her process for preparing to narrate an audiobook, why it can be worth taking risks with accents, and the humility required “to walk in someone else’s shoes and not let your foot stretch the leather.”

We first aired this interview last year and are excited to share it again with our new listeners on Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.

Read more…

Lawn at Tidesong

Pride in Maine Audiobooks . . . Susan Conley, Stephen King, Richard Blanco, and More

Lawn at TidesongMaine. Beautiful. Cold, this time of year. Glorious in the summer. Maine is my home, and AudioFile’s, and home to generations of extraordinary writers. Every time we review a new audiobook by a Maine author, I feel a bit of hometown pride. Susan Conley’s ELSEY COME HOME is featured this week with a spectacular, Earphones Award review for Cassandra Campbell’s narration. Susan lives in Portland and is the founder of The Telling Room, a creative writing lab for young writers ages 6 to 18—a favorite project that inspires storytelling, both written and spoken. In November 2015, The Telling Room’s Young Writers & Leaders program was presented with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the White House for A SEASON FOR BUILDING HOUSES, a collection of stories that open a window onto today’s immigrant and refugee experience. The audiobook of CALL ME AMERICAN, written by Somali refugee and Portland resident Abdi Nor Iftin, was published last summer. Narrator Prentice Onayemi brings his remarkable life to listeners.  Read more…