Aylesbury charity volunteer who has recorded hundreds of audiobooks wins audience vote for best narrator

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The list of winners was announced by blind actress and Calibre Audio volunteer Ellie Wallwork

The national audiobook charity Calibre Audio, based in Aylesbury, has announced the winners of the Calibre Audio Awards 2023.

The awards celebrate the best audiobooks added to the charity’s collection during 2022 for the enjoyment of its members who struggle to read print.

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Spanning nine different categories, the awards were voted for by Calibre Audio’s 17,000 members with print disabilities, along with staff and editorial specialists.

Actress Ellie Wallwork records the announcement of the winners using her Braille readerActress Ellie Wallwork records the announcement of the winners using her Braille reader
Actress Ellie Wallwork records the announcement of the winners using her Braille reader

Winning the award for Best Narrator is one of Calibre Audio’s own volunteers, who recorded 332 books for Calibre members that would otherwise not have been available in audio format.

Bob, who hung up his recording microphone in 2022 after volunteering for Calibre for 16 years, said: “I was surprised and of course delighted to receive the Calibre 2023 Award for Best Narrator. It's been made even more special by the fact that it was from a free vote for members, so it's a genuine response to what I've done, not just my turn. Thank you all for being such a valuable part of my life for 16 years.”

Scooping the award for Best Fiction Audiobook for Adults is Richard Osman’s runaway bestseller, The Bullet that Missed, while for children, Sharna Jackson’s fast-paced adventure mystery The Good Turn claimed top spot.

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Other winners include Miriam Margolyes’s captivating and extraordinary life story, This Much is True and the life-changing Breath by James Nestor, which turns on its head what we thought we knew about breathing.

The full list of Calibre Audio Award Winners for 2023 was announced on video by actress and Calibre Audio volunteer narrator, Ellie Wallwork.

Ellie said: “I was delighted to be asked to announce the winners of the Calibre Audio Awards 2023. As a visually impaired actress who has always loved books, I know first hand the huge impact that audiobooks can have on a person’s life and this is why I am honoured to be involved in the awards. I’m also so happy to be able to give some of my time to narrating books not available in audio for Calibre members to enjoy.”

This is the second year of the Calibre Audio Awards, which were introduced to highlight the best audiobooks and to raise awareness of the free service Calibre Audio offers to people who struggle to read print in the UK.

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Calibre Audio offers a free audiobook lending service to anyone in the UK who struggles to read print as a result of conditions such as visual impairment, dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s, stroke, brain injury or other physical or neurological conditions that prevent holding a book. Members can stream or download their books or receive them on memory sticks through the post.

The 2023 award winners

Best Fiction Audiobook: The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman

Best Children’s Audiobook: The Good Turn by Sharna Jackson

Best Non-Fiction Audiobook: This Much is True by Miriam Margolyes

Best Young Adult Audiobook: Good Girl Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

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Most Listened-Stream and Download: Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Editorial Choice: The Wych Elm by Tana French

Hidden Gem: Breath by James Nestor

Staff Favourite Audiobook: And Away by Bob Mortimer

Best Narrator: Bob Rollett