Penguin Random House is launching a new collection of audiobooks from the Penguin Classics list this September, featuring acting stars of "Noughts + Crosses", "Sex Education" and "His Dark Materials" as narrators.
The new compilation comprises classics such as The Voyage Out read by Masali Baduza, break-out star of the BBC's "Nought and Crosses"; Wuthering Heights read by Aimee-Lou Wood of "Sex Education"; and To The Lighthouse read by Ruth Wilson (pictured) of "His Dark Materials". The collection is intended to "recognise the significance, diversity and skill of women in the arts, both for their visionary thinking and their impressive work".
Other narrators include Anne-Marie Duff, also in "His Dark Materials", reading The Mill on the Floss, and Indira Varma, a star of "Game of Thrones", reading Pride and Prejudice.
The titles form part of an ongoing project to bring new audiences to iconic works read by talented UK actors, PRH said. Last autumn the first collection of Penguin Classics in Audio featured "Fleabag" actors Sian Clifford and Andrew Scott, "Game of Thrones" actress Natalie Dormer and "Homeland" star David Harewood.
The new collection of Penguin Classics in audio features 12 titles which are not only written and narrated entirely by women, but fully cast by women working in the audio industry: Sam Halstead, Jessica Barnfield and Alice Twomey. PRH said the compilation reflects the growing appetite for audio purchases by women, after Nielsen reported over half of audio purchases were made by women in 2019.
In total there were over 180 hours of audio recorded for the new collection of titles. The casting and recording process took place during lockdown, through a mixture of home recordings and a gradual move to in-studio recordings.
Sam Halstead, audio editorial director at Penguin Random House UK, said: "I am delighted to be adding these important texts to our growing audio classics list and in doing so representing a range of pioneering women in literature, all brought to life with wonderful performances from all of our narrators. As a team we’ve loved re-visiting — and in some cases discovering for the first time — these pieces, and hope listeners will love these recordings as much as we do for many years to come."
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