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February 2024 Earphones Award Winners

The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.



ALICE SADIE CELINE

ALICE SADIE CELINE

Earphones Award Winner

by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright | Read by Chloë Sevigny

Simon & Schuster Audio
Fiction

It takes an incredibly skilled narrator to make character vignettes entrancing, and performer Chloë Sevigny more than achieves this. Alice is struggling through her young career as an actress working at a dwindling local theater. After her best friend Sadie's mother, Celine, attends the play, Celine and Alice enter into a controversial sexual relationship. Meanwhile, Sadie is... Read More

ANNA O

ANNA O

Earphones Award Winner

by Matthew Blake | Read by Dan Stevens, Hannah Curtis, Sarah Cullum, Christine Rendel

Harper Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Hannah Curtis, Sarah Cullum, and Christine Rendel, led by the incomparable Dan Stevens, skillfully deliver this extraordinary twisty novel. One night Anna Ogilvy, a young wannabe writer, inexplicably stabs two people to death while sleepwalking. She hasn't woken up since the crime. Stevens's portrayal of Anna's psychiatrist, Ben, a specialist in sleep-related homicides, carries... Read More

AT THE EDGE OF THE NIGHT

AT THE EDGE OF THE NIGHT

Earphones Award Winner

by Friedo Lampe, Simon Beattie [Trans.] | Read by Jot Davies

Naxos AudioBooks
Classics

With a flair for dramatic dialogue and intense, unsettling imagery, narrator Jot Davies accentuates the vivid dreamlike qualities of this 1933 novel by the openly gay German author Friedo Lampe. At a river's edge on a single warm summer's evening, a group of characters ranging from sailors to students to lovers and a father-son magic act interact in this early example of magic... Read More

AUGUST WILSON

AUGUST WILSON

Earphones Award Winner

by Patti Hartigan | Read by Dion Graham, Patti Hartigan [Afterword]

Simon & Schuster Audio
Biography & Memoir

This biography of playwright and poet August Wilson contains both narrative and brief passages from some of his plays. Thus, the narrator has to be both storyteller and actor. Dion Graham excels at both. His rich voice carries the biography along nicely, but it is when he recites lines from plays such as FENCES and quotations from figures in Wilson's past that Graham really... Read More

CAHOKIA JAZZ

CAHOKIA JAZZ

Earphones Award Winner

by Francis Spufford | Read by Andy Ingalls

Simon & Schuster Audio
Fiction

Narrator Andy Ingalls delivers all the nuances of a full cast in Spufford's latest, a literary detective novel that takes place in an alternate universe. In an authoritative tone, Ingalls brings to life Cahokia, located on the banks of the Mississippi. In the novel, this ancient Indigenous society lives on in the 1920s, seeming to flourish in its diversity. But when Barrow... Read More

CANDELARIA

CANDELARIA

Earphones Award Winner

by Melissa Lozada-Oliva | Read by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Tantor Media
Fiction

Listeners will enjoy this deliciously twisted tale dynamically narrated by the author. Lozada-Oliva explores intergenerational trauma as three generations of women find themselves caught up in a zombie apocalypse. Elderly Guatemalan immigrant Candelaria kills her octogenarian boyfriend. Surrounded by chaos in Boston, she desperately and inexplicably tries to get to the Old... Read More

COME AND GET IT

COME AND GET IT

Earphones Award Winner

by Kiley Reid | Read by Nicole Lewis

Penguin Audio
Fiction

Nicole Lewis performs this sophomore novel from Booker longlisted author Kiley Reid. Millie Cousins is a senior resident assistant at the University of Arkansas, and her goal is to graduate, buy a house, and begin living her life. When Agatha Paul, a visiting professor and journalist, offers Millie money in exchange for the opportunity to eavesdrop on the dorm's residents,... Read More

A DEMON'S GUIDE TO WOOING A WITCH

A DEMON'S GUIDE TO WOOING A WITCH

Earphones Award Winner

by Sarah Hawley | Read by Helen Laser

Penguin Audio
Romantic Fiction

Helen Laser returns for another fun performance of the Glimmer Falls series. In this sequel, Astaroth, a bargainer demon who is one of nine members of the high council, is sent to Earth. Unfortunately for him, the first person he meets is the powerful witch Calladia, who becomes his enemy a mere few hours before he develops amnesia. But with Moloth on both their trails,... Read More

THE EYES AND THE IMPOSSIBLE

THE EYES AND THE IMPOSSIBLE

Earphones Award Winner

by Dave Eggers | Read by Ethan Hawke

Listening Library
Children

Ethan Hawke delivers a spectacular performance of Dave Eggers's 2024 Newbery Medal-winning middle-grade animal story in which Eggers assures us, ". . . the dogs are dogs, the birds are birds, goats are goats, the bison bison." Hawke is more than up to the task of interpreting the rich, complex language describing creatures who, along with three penned bison, maintain the... Read More

FARTHER THAN THE MOON

FARTHER THAN THE MOON

Earphones Award Winner

by Lindsay Lackey | Read by Joshua Wichard

Macmillan Audio
Children

Joshua Wichard is phenomenal at narrating this endearing novel, which captures a poignant time in a teenager's life. Thirteen-year-old Houston lives with his single mom and younger brother, Robbie, who has cystic fibrosis. The boys share a dream of traveling to the moon one day, just like their estranged grandpa. Hard work pays off, and Houston is accepted to the Junior... Read More

FRONTIER

FRONTIER

Earphones Award Winner

by Grace Curtis | Read by Aven Shore

Tantor Media
Science Fiction

Aven Shore does it again, this time offering a deft, versatile, immersive performance of a genre-bending queer sci-fi Western. The Stranger's ship crashes on a cold and broken Earth; thus begins her long journey to reunite with her love. Each chapter puts another obstacle in her path--a train car murder mystery, a quest to deliver a drug-toting tortoise, a run-in with a... Read More

GET THE PICTURE

GET THE PICTURE

Earphones Award Winner

by Bianca Bosker | Read by Bianca Bosker

Penguin Audio
Contemporary Culture

Journalist Bianca Bosker narrates her witty audiobook about the art world with pizzazz. She has a pleasing sound, paces the sometimes frantic-sounding proceedings well, and comes across as an authentic seeker. Performing in a comic style, she enhances the audiobook's ironic undertone, which suggests that many in the art world see journalists as "the enemy." In this work she... Read More

HAPPILY EVER ALASKA

HAPPILY EVER ALASKA

Earphones Award Winner

by Patience Griffin | Read by Kirsten Potter

Penguin Audio
Romantic Fiction

Kirsten Potter provides an amusing performance of this small-town romance. Lolly has run from every relationship in her life but only regrets leaving her high school boyfriend, Shaun, in the way that she did. Now that he's back in Sweet Home, Alaska, every neighbor in the community is divided between keeping them apart or getting them together. The romance and awkward... Read More

KILL SHOW

KILL SHOW

Earphones Award Winner

by Daniel Sweren-Becker | Read by Megan Tusing, Desmond Manny, Pun Bandhu, Melissa Redmond, Byron Wagner, Christine Lakin, Stacy Gonzalez, Xe Sands, Fred Sanders, Sara Morsey, Chris McLinden, Robert Fass

Harper Audio
Mystery & Suspense

An ensemble of wildly talented narrators elevates this fictional true- crime case told through first-person interviews. The narrators infuse a generous amount of personality and empathy into their portrayals of the community, media, and family involved in the tragic case of missing teenager Sara Parcell. Robert Fass's weary voice portrays Dave, Sara's downtrodden father, as he... Read More

THE LAST LOVE NOTE

THE LAST LOVE NOTE

Earphones Award Winner

by Emma Grey | Read by Leeanna Walsman

Zibby Books
Fiction

Leeanna Walsman immerses listeners in an emotional story that is sure to bring both laughter and tears. Two years after becoming a widow, 40-year-old Kate struggles to raise her son while juggling friendships and her career. Hugh, her boss, who was a close friend of her late husband, has been patiently supportive as she adjusts to her new life, always there when she needs him.... Read More

MARTYR!

MARTYR!

Earphones Award Winner

by Kaveh Akbar | Read by Arian Moayed

Random House Audio
Fiction

Iranian American actor Arian Moayed gives the performance of a lifetime in poet Kaveh Akbar's extraordinary debut novel. Cyrus Shams is a queer Iranian American poet in recovery who is grieving the long-ago death of his mother (killed when the U.S. Navy shot down a civilian Iranian plane) and struggling to find meaning in life. He becomes obsessed with the idea of martyrdom and... Read More

MERCURY

MERCURY

Earphones Award Winner

by Amy Jo Burns | Read by Maria Liatis

Macmillan Audio
Fiction

Narrator Maria Liatis is superb at portraying both the characters in this novel and the rural environment they inhabit. It's 1990, not far from Interstate 80. Marly and her mother arrive in the Pennsylvania town and soon encounter two brothers, one of which Marly will marry at a young age. But she remains close to both. The discovery of a skeleton in the church attic threatens... Read More

THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE ALPERTON ANGELS

THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE ALPERTON ANGELS

Earphones Award Winner

by Janice Hallett | Read by Kristin Atherton, Annie Aldington, Nneka Okoye, Gareth Armstrong, Sid Sagar

Simon & Schuster Audio
Mystery & Suspense

This marvelous audiobook unfolds through a series of emails complete with verbal emojis--a narrator's challenge. Kristin Atherton gives a knockout performance as journalist Amanda Bailey, who is investigating the malevolent cult of the Alperton Angels. Years ago they attempted to persuade a teenage mother to sacrifice her baby--but then the infant disappeared. Sid Sagar... Read More

THE NIGHT SHE LIED

THE NIGHT SHE LIED

Earphones Award Winner

by Lucy Dawson | Read by Rachel Atkins

Bolinda Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Rachel Atkins is a gift. Her performance of Dawson's suspenseful psychological thriller will seep into listeners' consciousness, keeping them on the edge of their seats. Atkins's talents are showcased immediately in the opening scene in which the protagonist, Jude, stands in a courtroom, awaiting the jury's decision about her fate. Jude, an emergency room nurse who... Read More

NOTHING MAN

NOTHING MAN

Earphones Award Winner

by RJ Gould | Read by Karl Jenkinson

R J Gould
Fiction

Karl Jenkinson introduces Neville Watkins, who is shocked when his wife leaves him, he is fired from his job, and he plows into a car while sneezing. It is through that last event that listeners meet 50-something Neville and Laura, the other driver. Jenkinson outdoes himself performing characters of all ages and classes who are experiencing life's joys and sorrows. Things start... Read More

PASSAGE

PASSAGE

Earphones Award Winner

by Connie Willis | Read by Erin deWard

Tantor Media
Science Fiction

With a talent for distinct voices, Erin deWard delivers this decades-old science fiction novel, now on audio. Psychologist Joanna Lander teams up with neurologist Richard Wright to determine the nature of near-death experiences and their role in survival. Lander's first simulated experience feels strange but familiar, and she's determined to repeat it until she can figure out... Read More

THE RACE TO BE MYSELF

THE RACE TO BE MYSELF

Earphones Award Winner

by Caster Semenya | Read by Caster Semenya, Becky Motumo-Molete

Audible, Inc.
Biography & Memoir

Olympic medalist Caster Semenya engages listeners with this deeply personal memoir of her experiences amid the ongoing debate over fairness in women's sports. Semenya, who was raised a girl and has always identified as female, has naturally high levels of testosterone, which are known as "differences in sex development (DSD)." She's been forced to undergo invasive and... Read More

THIS IS THE HONEY

THIS IS THE HONEY

Earphones Award Winner

by Kwame Alexander [Ed.] | Read by Mahogany L. Brown, Joel Damany Steingold

Hachette Audio
Poetry & Drama

Anyone who wants to know what's going on in contemporary Black poetry should seek out this anthology. Most of the big names, including Rita Dove and Nikki Giovanni, are here, as are a great many less famous but highly skilled poets. The quality of the poems ranges from quite good to fabulous; there's not a lemon in this bushel. Performers Mahogany L. Brown and Joel Damany... Read More

TRUE NORTH

TRUE NORTH

Earphones Award Winner

by Andrew J. Graff | Read by Lincoln Hoppe

Harper Audio
Fiction

Lincoln Hoppe demonstrates his skills with a stellar narration of this audiobook. His ability to subtly shift his tone and tempo from character to character, giving each a specific voice, makes this immersive novel stand out. Chip, an elderly river guide, has a gruffer, deeper voice than those of the other main characters, Sam and Swami Brecht. In a work with some... Read More

WANDERING STARS

WANDERING STARS

Earphones Award Winner

by Tommy Orange | Read by Shaun Taylor-Corbett, MacLeod Andrews, Alma Cuervo, Curtis Michael Holland, Calvin Joyal, Phil Ava, Emmanuel Chumaceiro, Christian Young, Charley Flyte

Random House Audio
Fiction

This audiobook reveals that Orange is among the most insightful novelists writing today and a poet of pain. Among this segmented novel's stellar performances, Charley Flyte's reading of Victoria Bear Shield's dramatic monologue to her unborn daughter is a tour de force--a haunting performance with an expressive tone and intimate voice. Alma Cuervo portrays Jacquie Red Feather... Read More

WE MUST NOT THINK OF OURSELVES

WE MUST NOT THINK OF OURSELVES

Earphones Award Winner

by Lauren Grodstein | Read by Brad Griffith, Jesse Vilinsky, Sharon Freedman, Amir Levi, Rich Keeble

Hachette Audio
Historical Fiction

Five remarkable narrators create an unforgettable portrait of the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Brad Griffith provides the main narration as Adam Paskow, a language and literature teacher who lost his beloved wife, Kasia. After being relocated to the Warsaw Ghetto, he is recruited by the real-life Oneg Shabbat to document the histories of the Jews there. Jesse Vilinsky, Sharon... Read More

WHAT WILD WOMEN DO

WHAT WILD WOMEN DO

Earphones Award Winner

by Karma Brown | Read by Karissa Vacker, Hillary Huber

Penguin Audio
Fiction

Karissa Vacker and Hillary Huber deliver excellent performances in this gripping audiobook. The story, set in the Adirondacks, evokes themes of empowerment, personal growth, and discovery as it depicts emotional insights and decades-spanning intrigue. Vacker voices failed screenwriter Rowan, who discovers a mysterious handbook that may have something to do with a woman who went... Read More

WHERE THE WATER TAKES US

WHERE THE WATER TAKES US

Earphones Award Winner

by Alan Barillaro | Read by Eunice Wong

Dreamscape
Children

Narrator Eunice Wong captures the beauty and pain of this magical coming-of-age story set on a Canadian island. Listeners meet 11-year-old Ava, who has been sent to her grandparents while her mother experiences a difficult pregnancy. Wong's sweet, sensitive Ava is worried despite her loving grandparents and the gorgeous setting of the island, replete with deer, birds, and water... Read More

WHERE YOU END

WHERE YOU END

Earphones Award Winner

by Abbott Kahler | Read by Megan Tusing, Samantha Desz

Macmillan Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Megan Tusing and Samantha Desz provide a captivating dual performance with confidence, especially when the narration is deliberately unreliable. Kat Bird awakes from a coma, coming face-to-face with her twin sister, Jude. Her memory a blank, Kat must piece together the story of their lives, with Jude's guidance. Secrets come to the surface as Kat puts the pieces of their shared... Read More

THE WOMEN WHO WOULDN'T LEAVE

THE WOMEN WHO WOULDN'T LEAVE

Earphones Award Winner

by Victoria Scott | Read by Alison Campbell

W.F. Howes Ltd.
Fiction

Alison Campbell poignantly presents a rural English community whose disparate residents are fighting attempts by developers to close their social housing. Listeners join curmudgeonly Matilda, 90 years old, and Connie, age 29, who is fleeing a violent boyfriend. When hoarder Matilda collapses while feeding her menagerie of goats, cats, and chickens, Connie, who has been... Read More

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