Audiobook of the Year

Overview

Last year saw a continued rise in audiobook popularity. There was a continued trend of mainstream publishers producing audio, and Penguin Random House had a particularly strong yeah, garnering three spots on this shortlist. These eight titles have all been produced with high production values, using star narrators and often adding exclusive audio-only content to draw in listeners. This, combined with increasing marketing budgets for audio, ensured huge success of these eight titles.

The Shortlist

  • My Sister, The Serial Killer
    Oyinkan Braithwaite (W F Howes)
    Featuring British-Nigerian actress Weruche Opia throughout, this release really brought Oyinkan Braithewaite’s two distinct protagonists to life. Opia’s narration was praised as “vibrant” and “fresh” by one reviewer.
  • The Testaments
    Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House)
    This is the fastest-selling Penguin Random House audiobook ever, not just in the UK, but globally. The campaign focused on narrator events, which really engaged fans of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and brand as a whole.
  • The Handmaid's Tale
    Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House)
    With a goal to revamp the original audiobook ahead of the release of The Testaments , this was PRH’s first audio-only publication and marketing campaign. The narration was atmospheric thanks to the TV series’ Elisabeth Moss.
  • The Body
    Bill Bryson (Audible)
    Narrated by Bill Bryson, this release features exclusive audio content—appropriately, an additional chapter all about the ear and hearing. The narrator’s “gentle, humorous and intelligent” voice added another level to the narrative.
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    Christy Lefteri (Bonnier Books UK)
    Christy Lefteri’s protagonist Nuri has experienced the horrors of the Syrian War, but this is a story of hope. Art Malik was the perfect narrator, with the necessary emotive range for such a sensitive story.
  • The Madness of Crowds
    Douglas Murray (Bloomsbury)
    There was a wide calling for Murray to narrate his second audiobook, and as a leading voice in political and sociological discourse, the choice brought authenticity to the subject. Murray’s hard work paid off, as 40,000 copies were sold in four months.
  • Gotta Get Theroux This
    Louis Theroux (Macmillan)
    The author’s distinct voice made this a standout audiobook of 2019, selling over 55,000 copies digitally. A big selling point was the additional chapter on one of Louis Theroux’s most controversial and intriguing subjects: Jimmy Savile.
  • The Secret Commonwealth
    Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House)
    This was PRH’s biggest ever children’s audiobook. It is also the second time that Michael Sheen has brought Philip Pullman’s work to life, having previously won a Nibbie for the La Belle Sauvage audiobook in 2018.