Think about who narrates your favorite fiction audiobooks. How often is it the author?
I’m willing to bet the answer is: not very. Because writing books and performing books aloud are very different skill sets, voice actors typically narrate audiobooks.
It’s not terribly uncommon for authors to read memoirs and nonfiction works. For example, I narrate all my own audiobooks, and a key reason is that so many readers know my voice from my podcast. You can bet I’m not the only one who reads her own work for this reason! But it remains rare for authors to narrate their own novels.
The best audiobooks aren’t a substitute for actual books; instead they enhance them, adding layers to the reading experience. Novelists know how to tell a good story but that doesn’t mean they’re the best one to perform it.
That’s why I’m always intrigued when authors narrate their own novels for the audiobook edition. It’s a unique joy to listen to a wonderful novel, narrated exactly as the author herself envisioned.
Over the last year I happened to listen to a handful of wonderful audiobooks narrated by their authors. The first few listens were accidental, and then I began to seek them out. Some of the authors mentioned in today’s book list narrate most, if not all, of their own work, whereas others have only narrated the one.
In keeping with our 2022 philosophy of shorter book lists, we’re focusing on literary fiction today. But there are plenty of fiction authors of all genres who narrate their own work. We hope you’ll share your favorites in the comments. If you’re interested, we’ll share more author-narrated works by genre in the future, and chiming in with your favorite author-read audiobooks helps us share more great books with you.
10 powerful works of literary fiction narrated by their authors
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We focused on literary fiction today. What would YOU add to this list? What are your favorite fiction audiobooks narrated by their authors in any genre?