HarperCollins is releasing an unabridged audiobook of J R R Tolkien's The Hobbit, read by Andy Serkis who starred as Gollum in the blockbuster movies.
Released in September, the audiobook comes after Serkis embarked on Hobbitathon, a live, cover-to-cover reading of the classic book, in an 11-hour sitting to raise money for Covid-19 relief efforts. More than 650,000 fans tuned in, helping to raise over £300,000.
Serkis explained: “I have such vivid memories of first reading The Hobbit, when I was on the bus going to school, aged about nine or 10. It was the first ‘grown up’ book I remember reading, and I’d often miss my stop because I was so engaged in the thrust and power of its storytelling, the beautifully drawn characters, the majesty of the epic journey.
“After having performed it all in one take for the Hobbitathon, and with experience freshly under my belt, HarperCollins and I talked about the idea of creating an audiobook version, one that would encapsulate the spirit of the Hobbitathon, except this time I would have the opportunity to refine the performance over four days in the studio.”
The actor has donated his fee to the Disasters Emergency Committee and HarperCollins has matched his contribution.
Deputy publishing director Chris Smith said: “HarperCollins is proud to be the official publisher of the works of J R R Tolkien, and we consider The Hobbit to be one of the brightest jewels in our crown, a book that generations of readers have grown up with and continue to love for its charm, imagination and sense of adventure. We are delighted that we have an actor of the calibre of Andy Serkis who can bring these qualities to life so brilliantly for a whole new audience, and the support of the Tolkien Estate in bringing about this exciting project.”
The audiobook will be available to download from all audiobook retailers on 3rd September and on CD on 17th September. Recorded Books will publish in the US.