Just a quick note to say congratulations to Humphrey Bower for being chosen as one of US Audiofile Magazine’s Best Voices of 2009 for his work on the Audio Book of my first novel, Wrack, produced by Australia’s Bolinda Publishing. Perth-based Humphrey, who’s built quite a reputation in recent years for his work voicing novels by Sonya Hartnett, Gregory Roberts and Tim Winton, also works as an actor and director on stage and screen (anyone who was watching John Safran’s Race Relations over recent weeks may have caught him in episode 3 as Rabbi Packouz) and voiced the Audio Book of my third novel, The Resurrectionist, back in 2007 (if you’d like to know more about Humphrey there’s a bio at Audiofile).
I suspect the world of Audio Books isn’t one that intrudes into many people’s lives, but it’s an incredibly important industry. My grandmother began to lose her sight in her 70s, and was basically blind for most of the last decade of her life. I’m not sure she was a great reader before she lost her sight, but once it was gone she found great solace in Audio Books, even though, as the years went on, her hearing became worse and worse.
Looking back, I wish one of my books had been recorded in time for her to listen to it. I’m not sure she would have enjoyed it particularly, but I think it would have meant a lot to her, and it would certainly have meant a lot to me. So while I’m congratulating Humphrey, and Bolinda, I’d like to extend a larger thank you to the Audio Book industry in general for all their efforts. I don’t know much about the economics of it but I’m pretty certain publishing Audio Books in Australia faces all the same challenges the Australian publishing industry in general faces, only more so, which makes their work all the more praiseworthy.