Audible publishes Granta 'Best' novelists

Audible publishes Granta 'Best' novelists

Amazon-owned has acquired world audio rights to five authors from the Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists list.

The digital audiobook company has bought rights to Tahmima Anam’s The Good Muslim (Canongate), Adam Thirlwell’s Politics and The Escape (Vintage), Ross Raisin’s God’s Own Country and Waterline (both Penguin), Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army and How to Paint a Dead Man (both Faber) and Kamila Shamsie’s In the City by the Sea, Salt and Saffron, Kartography, and Broken Verses (Bloomsbury).

In 2013, Audible produced the digital audiobook version of Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4, where it recorded each of the 20 chosen stories. The company said that during this time, Audible “developed strong relationships” with Anam, Thirlwell, Raisin, Hall, and Shamsie, which has led to the current audio deals.
Audible is understood to have made approaches to the authors for their audio rights at the Granta Best of Young British Novelists event in April 2013.

Laurence Howell, director of content at, said: “Our initial partnership with Granta has been a hugely positive experience in terms of encouraging literary fiction’s rising stars to engage with spoken word and make more of their work available in audio.”

Audible has already published its editions of Anam’s The Good Muslim, narrated by Tania Rodrigues, Politics and The Escape by Adam Thirlwell, narrated by John Banks and Bill Doepel, respectively, and Raisin’s God’s Own Country and Waterline, narrated by Oliver Hembrough and Steven Cree respectively. Sarah Hall and Kamila Shamsie’s titles are also scheduled for release early this year.

Agent Peter Straus of Rogers, Coleridge & White, who represents both Thirlwell and Raisin, said: “Historically it has been traditional for publishers to see the audio rights as a separate and additional right, often withheld upon the agreement of a deal. However, with newer developments and the rise and importance of downloads, publishers are seeing these rights as a crucial part of their publishing strategy and thus  important and part of the initial grant of rights. Some feel that without audio rights they will not wish to pursue volume rights.”

He said he felt it was “crucial” that if audio rights are granted that the author has “at least consultation if not approval” in the recording of the work. “Moreover if it is abridged then those abridgements must be seen and approved by the author too.  And if the author himself or herself reads the work then the author should be additionally and appropriately paid,” he said.

Answering whether Audible is a good proposition for authors’ audio rights, Straus added: "Anything that reaches out to a wider and stronger market cannot be ignored. They are a big player."

Victoria Hobbs, agent to Kamila Shamsie at AM Heath, said: “The four titles Audible have are backlist titles, which Bloomsbury did not have the audio rights to. However, Bloomsbury has the rights to Shamsie’s more current work.”