The stars of the audiobook world convened in New York City to celebrate outstanding audiobooks at the 2023 Audie Awards gala—and were overjoyed to be gathering in person for the first time since 2020. AudioFile's own Robin Whitten was a guest judge and presenter, joining many familiar faces (and voices!) who were thrilled to share in the celebrations. Host Michelle Buteau, pictured above, kept the crowd laughing and on their toes—and reminded everyone of the power of words to make change in the world. Audiobook fans can watch the full event on the Audiobook Publishers Association's webpage, and find a complete list of winners and finalists, along with reviews and audio samples, at theaudies.com. It's a lot of great listening.
The night's biggest winner was Viola Davis for her memoir, FINDING ME, which took home the honor for Audiobook of the Year and Best Narration by the Author—earning her the rare achievement of the EGOAT! Davis also won a 2023 Grammy Award for her narration of her memoir. Rosamund Pike gave a moving and emotional acceptance speech after winning Best Female Narrator, for her performance of THE EYE OF THE WORLD by Robert Jordan (she also stars in The Wheel of Time, the streaming series based on Jordan's books).
Fantasy audiobooks indeed had a good night, as Seth Numrich took home the Best Male Narrator honor for Stephen King's fantastical FAIRY TALE. Shayna Small won in the Fantasy category for her narration of Leslye Penelope's dazzling historical fantasy THE MONSTERS WE DEFY. In Fiction, Carrie Coon and Key Taw were honored for their narration of the raw and timely MAD HONEY by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. And Thandiwe Newton's narration of the 60-hour-long WAR AND PEACE won the Audie for Literary Fiction & Classics—and perhaps should come with an additional medal for endurance.
Audiobooks for younger listeners were celebrated as well—Tyler Merritt's A DOOR MADE FOR ME took home the prize for Young Listeners. Our reviewer noted he speaks "directly to the listener with unmistakable sincerity," as he tells a story of a painful memory and finding comfort with family. The Middle Grade winner, Jason Reynolds's STUNTBOY, IN THE MEANTIME was a clear favorite from us at AudioFile—one of our Best of the Year!—with superstar Guy Lockhard leading that full-cast narration. The Young Adult winner was THE DEMON IN THE WOOD, a full-cast audio adaptation of the graphic novel by Leigh Bardugo that captures its darkly magical atmosphere. It's a prequel to Bardugo's Shadow and Bone trilogy, told with an evocative soundscape and talented narrators, including some of the stars of the streaming series, making for a spellbinding listen.
Caitlin Augusta explores all six of the romance finalists in her recent article for us—and Kristen DiMercurio's heartfelt narration of DELILAH GREEN DOESN'T CARE took home the prize. Listeners who loved Delilah's story will be eager to hear what happens next in Ashley Herring Blake's sequel, ASTRID PARKER DOESN'T FAIL. In the Erotica category, Adriana Herrera's ON THE HUSTLE won for the excellent performances from Lola James and Sean Crisden. And mystery audiobook lovers can look forward to Ellen Quint's recounting of the evening on Monday—but for now know that the winner was Ed Harris's narration of THE HERON by Don Winslow.
Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists of this year's Audie Awards!
Photos of Michelle Buteau, Robin Whitten and Edoardo Ballerini, Erin Bennett and Vikas Adam, and the Audies medals by Max Flatow Photography. Photos of Rosamund Pike and Guy Lockard by Ilya S Savenok for Getty Images.