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Spotlight on popular narrators

Golden Voice Award Audiobook Narrator
 Dominic Hoffman

Dominic Hoffman

"Hoffman's style is so natural... listeners may never be aware of his polished technique."

 Dominic Hoffman
 Dominic Hoffman

Talking with Dominic Hoffman

Golden Voices June July Cover

In June 2024, Dominic Hoffman was inducted as a Golden Voice, AudioFile's lifetime achievement honor for audiobook narrators.

What helps you achieve an emotional connection to a book and the characters?

I consider myself an actor/writer principally, which means I am always compelled to find the emotional connection with the material whatever it might be. What else is there in storytelling? There is always something at stake. There is always conflict. There are always character wants/needs. In the midst of that, we find joy, sorrow, heartache, and epiphanies. That seems to me to be the journey. Storytelling is as old as humanity, and makes up a great deal of its meaning. A narrator is fortunate when they get something which speaks to them personally. Otherwise, it’s all improvisation, which is the most valued asset in an actor's toolbox.

Where do you find inspiration for accents or other aspects of your performance?

As I said, I am an actor. I went to conservatories back in the day when accents were obligatory unless you wanted to keep playing the same character. I get most of my accents from life, in that I have a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances. I also travel quite a bit and have always been interested in languages. I have written and performed in solo shows where all the characters (male and female/ young and old) have different speaking accents and patterns. As an actor, I have found it easier to portray a completely different person than yourself if the character has an accent. One can also arrive at that with movement, but in a recording studio movement is a moot point. I say that jokingly, but it is also true.

Do you have a special affinity for historical fiction audiobooks?

I’m not sure I have an affinity for historical fiction. I merely do what is offered to me. I guess historical fiction falls in that class, but I have narrated everything from Tyler Perry and Henry Louis Gates to a new translation of Dante’s INFERNO. I am mostly attracted to story. Nonfiction is the most technically difficult because of all the names, dates, and places. Those are the things that interrupt the narrator’s flow, and depending on the pronunciation of the names, add a degree of difficulty to the telling of the tale. At least that’s how it is for me.

What has surprised you the most about your work in audiobooks?

What surprises me most is that people like what I do. This is not humility. As Oscar Wilde once said: “Humility is the worst kind of conceit.” Every time I get a book assigned to me I tremble a bit. If I think it’s a really good book, I tremble a great deal. The first thought that comes to mind is that the book is perfect as it is. The second thought is . . . I’d better not mess this up. The pressure is always on the narrator not to compromise the excellent work. While recording I try to get completely lost in the moment, which is the best way to refrain from judging every word and sound coming out of my mouth. It’s technical, yes, but it’s all visceral. I actually feel the words and the story and the moment meshing, or not.


Read More

Dominic’s Accolades

The Heaven &Earth Grocery Store   AudioFile Best of 2023   Fiction
When Stars are Scattered   AudioFile Best of 2020   Children
Deacon King Kong   AudioFile Best of 2020   Fiction
Flying Lessons and Other Stories   AudioFile Best of 2017  Children & Family Listening 
Homegoing   Audie Award 2017   Literary Fiction & Classics




Photo by Daniel Reichert

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