Jenny Eclair and Kit de Waal champion Listening Books

Jenny Eclair and Kit de Waal champion Listening Books

Authors Jenny Eclair, Kit de Waal, Sally Gardner and Bali Rai have been made ambassadors for national audiobook charity Listening Books as it marks its 60th anniversary.

The four authors will help to promote the work of the charity and the importance of audiobooks as an accessible way for everyone to enjoy reading. Listening Books c.e.o. William Dee said the four ambassadors "will be invaluable in reaching more people who could benefit from the format but may not have considered listening to books before.”

Listening Books provides an audiobook library service to over 60,000 members who find reading or holding a book is impacted by print impairments such as an illness, disability, specific learning difficulty or mental health condition. 
Eclair, whose latest book Inheritance (Little, Brown) is published on Thursday, said: "I think providing audiobooks for those who have a problem reading for whatever reason is an invaluable and life enhancing service. Everyone should have access to stories, we all need to escape from reality now and then, and if your everyday reality is tough then it’s even more vital.”

Children's author and 2013 Carnegie Medal winner Gardner added: “Audio for me is completely essential. I have done nearly all my learning through my ears and I want to spread the message of the marvels of listening to more and more young people. We are story hungry animals and audio feeds that beast very well.”

Founded in 1959 by Norma Skemp, the charity is marking its 60th anniversary with the 60 for 60 campaign, adding an audiobook a day to the library for 60 days, many of which have been recommended by their members. 

Books added to the list include Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and narrated by Shvorne Marks (Orion), Josh Malerman's Birdbox, narrated by Katharine Mangold (HarperCollins) and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and narrated by Dominic West (Faber).

Award-winning author De Waal is a "devotee of audiobooks". She said: "They reach you in a different way - not better, just different and for anyone who struggles with reading or holding a book, they are brilliant. Plus they are the only books you can read with your eyes closed.”

Children's author Rai added he was "absolutely honoured" to become an ambassador for the audiobook charity. He said: "I think it’s vital that all people in the UK, regardless of ability, have access to literature, and that’s why this project matters so much, and why I’m very proud to be supporting this project.”