Penguin Random House is donating audiobooks to hospital and prison radio stations to offer comfort and escape during the pandemic.
In partnership with National Prison Radio, which broadcasts to the cells of 110 jails, a collection of 30 audiobooks have been donated for broadcast in a new “Penguin Life Stories” programme each week. They will also be made available for Radio Wanno – HMP Wandsworth’s radio station.
The scheme will also see Lee Child (pictured), whose book Blue Moon is one of those being donated, take part in a Q&A for broadcast on prison radio, with inmates submitting questions in advance.
Alongside Child – one of the most loaned authors in UK prisons — the titles chosen include Rise Up by Stormzy and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Siena Parker, head of creative responsibility for Penguin Random House UK, said: “Listening to an audiobook can help you escape into another world. We hope that these donations will help to offer comfort, lift spirits and provide much-needed entertainment to some of the people most affected by the current crisis.”
Meanwhile PRH will also work with the Hospital Broadcasting Association charity, which supports a network of 200 volunteer-run hospital radio stations broadcasting direct to patients’ bedsides.
Another collection of 30 carefully curated audiobooks has been donated, with each station able to choose which titles they want to broadcast. The titles in the hospital collection include Esio Trot by Roald Dahl, Transcription by Kate Atkinson, La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, Down in the Valley by Laurie Lee and A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde.
Nigel Dallard, a trustee of the Hospital Broadcasting Association, said: "Whilst some patients might have a smartphone or tablet and the ability to download e-books to read whilst in hospital, many will not. This kind offer from Penguin Random House will enable hospital radio stations to broaden the entertainment they are able to offer to include audiobooks as well as the music-led programmes that are the mainstay of hospital radio, helping to relieve the anxiety and boredom of a stay in hospital."