Dame Helen Mirren to narrate 'lost' Beatrix Potter tale

Dame Helen Mirren to narrate 'lost' Beatrix Potter tale

Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren is to narrate Beatrix Potter's century-old "lost" story, The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots (Frederick Warne & Co, Penguin Random House Children’s).

The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots was written by Potter in 1914 but the unpublished work only came to light in 2013, after it was found by PRH Children's publisher Jo Hanks in the archives of the V&A museum. Hanks happened upon a reference to the book after stumbling across an out-of-print literary history of Potter from the 1970s, referring to an unedited manuscript of a story about "a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life".

Publication of both the hardback and audiobook is slated for 1st September 2016, as reported on in January, with Quentin Blake chosen to illustrate. 2016 also celebrates what would have been Potter’s 150th birthday.

The audiobook recording will be Mirren's first. She began her acting career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is the recipient of an Oscar, BAFTA, Tony, and four Emmys, playing characters as diverse as Elizabeth II in the film of "The Queen" and detective Jane Tennison in television series "Prime Suspect".

PRH audio publisher, Videl Bar-Kar, said: “The publication of Beatrix Potter’s rediscovered story The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots is set to be a major event this September and we are delighted that Dame Helen Mirren has brought her extraordinary dramatic talent to narrate the audiobook. Her reading brings warmth, intimacy and a sense of incredible discovery.” 

The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots and Other Stories will feature five other stories, with the other narrators to be announced at a later date. The book, priced at £12.99, will be published in a jacketed hardback format in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.