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Spotlight on popular narrators

Golden Voice Award Audiobook Narrator
Kate Reading

Kate Reading

"Kate aims to align with the truth of the character and the truth of the story."

Kate Reading
Kate Reading

 

Talking with Kate Reading

Golden Voices June July Cover

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

What’s your favorite thing about narrating audiobooks?

The act of creating a world. It’s miraculous. I sit in a 4’ x 4’ cub and play in a vast universe. Hamlet said, “I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space…” which describes how I feel. I am fascinated by the challenge of figuring out the author’s voice, the tone of the story, embodying all the characters, being sensitive to the pace of the plot. It’s a natural extension of my work onstage, except the only one I’m collaborating with is the text. I think because the craft is so interesting to me, I enjoy all sorts of different genres. At the heart of any book is a human story, whether urban faerie, epic fantasy, mystery, romance, classic or contemporary fiction, biography, history, comedy, sci-fi, or genres that haven’t yet been invented, and it’s a delight to serve them as best I can.

Tell us about a memorable character you’ve given voice to.

There are too many to choose! Thousands of characters—and in the moment, each is memorable, worthy, interesting, all I’m aware of. Then it’s over, and I move on. Current projects and characters I am enjoying include: 

Charlotte Holmes, the adorably gluttonous, brilliant detective in Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series.

THE SWEET BLUE DISTANCE by Sara Donati: midwife Carrie Ballentyne’s journey to Santa Fe in the mid 1800s, full of the history of that area, featuring characters from Donati’s Into the Wilderness and Waverly Place series, which I started narrating fifteen years ago.

Dorothy Martin, amateur detective expat American, she of the creaky knees and teacher’s wisdom: This series is by Jeanne M Dams, and I just completed 17 of these books. I grew up in England, so it was fun to recognize familiar places and learn about new ones.

WRATH OF THE SUN is the last in the epic fantasy series The Lords of Alekka, by A.E. Rayne, with gods bickering and scheming, massive battles, magic, and dreamer Eddeth Nagel, who is every imposter syndrome victim ever, and is clumsy but brilliant, and sneezes often, and endeared herself to me.

THE AENIGMA LIGHTS by JA Andrews, which features a magic system based on runes, an evil empire, a heroic journey for Kate to unlock the puzzle, and some of the characters from THE KEEPER ORIGINS: A definite standout character is the eclectically inventive kobold Purnicious, and a hilarious pair of grumbling dwarf brothers.

What’s your favorite genre to narrate?

Any well-written book, the juicier the better.

Tell us about a time you’ve gotten feedback from a fan.

One fan sent a message to our merch company, New Creations by Jen, thinking she was messaging me. The message was, “You need to record THE LETTERS OF JANE AUSTEN!” I laughed when I heard that, and then realized the book is in the public domain, so I produced it with Spoken Realms, and it came out in January. I’m always moved when people write to me and share their thoughts: It’s a little window into the outcome of my work. People are fascinating. I especially appreciated the fan who wrote: “The young woman who sells Edie the movie ticket says ‘Screen two.’ I laughed at the voice. You did so much with those two little words.” That made my day.

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Kate Reading delivers each of her narratives with practiced aplomb, with the aim, she says, of aligning with "the truth of the character and the truth of the story." Having completed dozens of audiobooks since the mid-1980s, Kate also has a busy stage career in Washington, DC, where she's received several Helen Hayes Award nominations. As with those of other top narrators, Kate 's audiography spans a range of diverse subject matter-from THE SECRET GARDEN to a multi-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, Patricia Cornwell's entire Kay Scarpetta mystery series, and in duet with her husband, Michael Kramer, a dozen of Robert Jordan's fantasy titles. This year her ensemble work on Nick Hornby's A LONG WAY DOWN and her skillful renderings of Lauren Willig's THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION and Catherine Sampson's FALLING OFF AIR all garnered kudos from reviewers. THE RIVER by Tricia Wastvedt is one of Kate 's favorites for "the originality of the author's voice."

Recently she recorded SURPRISED BY LOVE , the biography of C.S. Lewis's wife, the American writer Joy Davidman. Because Kate  was born in the U.S. and grew up in England, she is especially adept at perfecting American speech in a British setting, which listeners know is difficult to pull off convincingly. With subtle control of characters and sense of pacing, Kate 's performances are a consistent pleasure.

--2005 Narrator Yearbook

 

Read More

Kate's Accolades

Rhythm of War   Audie Award 2022   Fantasy
A Conspiracy in Belgravia  AudioFile Best of 2017  Mystery & Suspense 
Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints
  AudioFile Best of 2015  Mystery & Suspense
BreastsA Natural and Unnatural History
  Audie Winner 2013
Bling Goddess: Hanne Wilhelmsen Series, Book 1
  AudioFile Best of 2012  Mystery & Suspense 
Bright-Sided
 AudioFile Best of 2010  Contemporary Culture
Cursor's Fury: Codex Alera Series, Book 3
  AudioFile Best of 2009  Fantasy 
‚ÄčCaptain's Fury
 AudioFile Best of 2008  Fantasy 

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Photo by DJ Corey

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