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April 2020 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.


THE CITY BORN GREAT
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Landon Woodson's captivating singing opens this stand-alone short story from Jemisin's collection HOW LONG 'TIL BLACK FUTURE MONTH? Listeners are hooked from the start as they meet the first-person narrator, a young black man living on the street who is being called upon to act as midwife for the birth of New York City. As the smooth-talking Paulo--Sao Paulo--acts as a guide,... Read More

THE CITY WE BECAME
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Robin Miles gives voice to everything New York in this fantastical celebration of the city's spirit. As the novel opens, New York City is going through a transformation--it's becoming sentient, embodied by six human avatars who represent the city's five boroughs plus New York as a whole. Along with creating distinct voices and accents for the diverse cast of characters, Miles... Read More

GO, WENT, GONE
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Lisa Flanagan uses a calm tone and pace to deliver this gripping story about African immigrants in Berlin, Germany. The audiobook focuses on Richard, a retired widower and classics professor who discovers a group of African refugees staging a hunger strike. He begins an inquiry that transforms his life--and theirs. When Richard visits the immigrants at their shelter, he... Read More

GOOD HUSBANDRY
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Towards the end of this eloquent audiobook, author and narrator Kimball describes the birth of a calf. Her rendering of this scene collapses time, and the event rings so true that the listener feels an intimate connection with the rural life that Kimball so sure-handedly details. Kimball has a pleasing voice and an expressive style that bring the listener into close contact... Read More

HOW TO RAISE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

This heartfelt collection of parenting reflections and advice from a legendary teacher could not be more enlightening and reassuring. Andrea Gallo's pitch-perfect performance captures the author's intelligent perspective and her remarkable ability to offer advice without condescending or preaching. Gallo's pacing and calmness, in particular, seem to slow the presentation down,... Read More

THE LIGHT OF ALL THAT FALLS
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Michael Kramer narrates the epic conclusion to an epic fantasy trilogy. Four friends are led by the troubled Caeden to the northern border of Andarra to confront evil forces. As this story twists and weaves through time, morality shifts, and the cost of survival mounts. Kramer's gravelly voice engages listeners with his masterful cadence and reflective tone. Characters feel... Read More

A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

In her introduction, Patrice Caldwell asks why black people don't exist in speculative worlds. Here, some of the foremost #ownvoices YA authors create strong black heroines in tales of "black culture, strength, beauty, bravery, resistance, magic, and hope." York Whitaker's fluid narrations showcase the versatility of stories with settings that range from contemporary America to... Read More

PRETTY AS A PICTURE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Juiia Whelan and author Elizabeth Little are casting perfection in this murder mystery cum witty send-up of the film industry. The mayhem, including murder, occurs while filming a movie about a real-life murder on a resort island off Delaware. Our protagonist, Marissa, a film editor hired to replace a previously fired editor, stumbles into trying to solve both murders.... Read More

STRONG VOICES
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Although it's aimed at middle-grade listeners, this collection of important American speeches is enlightening for those of all ages. In the introductions, narrator Lisa Renee Pitts's spirited voice delivers the historical contexts and legacies of the speeches, unflinchingly detailing which Founding Fathers were slaveholders and explaining complicated politics. Pitts also... Read More

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