Independent publisher Pushkin Press is to release its first audiobook, read by author and BBC Radio 4 presenter Johny Pitts.
Pitts will narrate Antal Szerb’s novel Journey by Moonlight, translated by Len Rix. The press published the novel in early 2001 and has since published four further books by Szerb, all in translations by Rix. All the books remain in print and core backlist titles for Pushkin.
The audiobook is produced by Cast Iron Radio for Pushkin and will be released worldwide.
Last year, Pitts won the Jhalak Prize's Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour for Afropean: Notes from Black Europe (Allen Lane). He also co-hosts BBC Radio 4's "Open Book" programme with author and journalist Elizabeth Day.
He said: "Re-reading Journey by Moonlight was one of a handful of things that got me through lockdown. It whisked me off to the intellectual scene in turn of the century Budapest, and across the variegated beauty of Italy. But more than anything, it took me back to my own travels in my early twenties, when I found a tatty copy of this strange, beguiling book in a youth hostel, read it, and decided I wanted to be a writer. I hope my narration will encourage other such serendipitous encounters."
Pushkin publisher and m.d. Adam Freudenheim said: "It feels appropriate that our first fully homegrown audiobook is the book that put Pushkin on the map 20 years ago, and that that book is a Central European classic, a rediscovery, in translation. I am excited that more people will be able to discover/rediscover this original, moving work in audiobook, and particularly excited that Johny Pitts read it for us with such passion and sensitivity, even including his own personal audio commentary at the conclusion of the audiobook."
Kate Bland from Cast Iron Radio added: "We love working with Pushkin, as they bring old-world publishing care and attention to detail to new mediums. Pushkin's titles also mean we leave the realms of the studio and travel to wonderful places written by imaginative writers and talented translators. Without actually sitting with us in the recording studio, you are very present through the production; very engaged and sensitive to the project. Johny draws from his own deep love of writing and writers, and this brought the whole feel of the book up a notch or two."