Why the Best Audiobook Narrators Will Make You Fall in Love With Listening

Both audiobook narrators and an audiobook’s production play a crucial role in bringing stories—including many bestselling audiobooks—to life for listeners. Read on for tips to help you discover your next audiobook and why these narrators will make you love reading on audio!

Follow awards in audiobook narration 

Selected by esteemed juries, audiobook awards are a great starting point to find your next favorite audiobook. 

Every year, the Audie Awards by Audio Publishers Association honor the best audiobooks and best audiobook narrators. AudioFile Magazine’s annual Golden Voice Award is a lifetime achievement honor for narrators who have made significant contributions to audiobook publishing, while the monthly Earphone Awards recognize audiobooks that stand out for their exceptional narrative voice and style, character portrayals, suitability for audio, and enhancement of the text. 

Consider special effects that enhance narration

Special effects and techniques can help increase listening experiences. These might include voiceover, background music, sound effects, and/or the use of full-cast productions. For example, Bono’s memoir Surrender won the Audie Awards’ Audiobook of the Year in 2024, which features more than 40 tracks of unreleased music in the audiobook.

Look for diversity in narration

Like much of publishing, the audiobook narration world has been slow to diversify. However, a huge push in recent years has led to more audiobook narrators from systematically excluded backgrounds finally receiving the recognition they deserve. These experiences (and even accents, such as British, Nigerian, Southern, Spanish, Irish, etc.), only enrich voice performances and enhance the authenticity and relatableness of the audiobook’s characters. 

Read everything by your stand out narrators

Once you find a narrator you love, see what else they’ve narrated! Not sure who these narrators are? Here’s a list of 10 bestselling audiobook narrators, known for their unique styles: 

Davina Porter

Golden Voice narrator Davina Porter has narrated the entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, as well as other fantasy classics, including many of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon audiobooks and Erika Johansen’s acclaimed The Invasion of the Tearling

Simon Vance

Simon Vance started his narration career while working as a BBC Radio presenter and newsreader in London. Since, he’s narrated over a thousand audiobooks, won the Golden Voice Award, seventy-two AudioFile Earphone Awards, and sixteen Audie Awards.

Dion Graham

Narrator and actor Dion Graham has been honored as an AudioFile Golden Voice and Booklist‘s “Voice of Choice”. From riveting historical nonfiction to biography and memoir, he has won four Audie Awards, numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards, and a host of other “Best of” accolades.

Julia Whelan

With over 600 audiobooks narrated across all genres, Julia Whelan is widely regarded as one of the top narrators in the industry today. She consistently appears on AudioFile Magazine‘s annual Best-Of Lists. Additionally, she is a Grammy-nominated audiobook director.

Bahni Turpin 

Bahni Turpin, an American audiobook narrator and stage and screen actor based in Los Angeles, has narrated some of the most popular and critically acclaimed audiobooks, including The Hate U Give.

Dominic Hoffman

Dominic Hoffman’s background in acting and degree in English literature make him a perfect candidate for audiobook narration, and his reading record is no exception. He is a multiple-time winner of the Earphones Awards and inducted as a Golden Voice by AudioFile.

Adjoa Andoh

Adjoa Andoh is a British actress with experience on stage, screen, and radio (you may recognize her as Lady Danbury in Bridgerton!). She was inducted as AudioFile‘s Golden Voice in 2022 and has won multiple Earphone Awards across different genres.

Robin Miles 

Robin Miles has a past in Broadway, voiceover work, and television, so it’s no surprise that narration has served her well. She won the coveted Best Female Narrator Audie Award in 2021 for her narration of N. K. Jemisin’s The City We Became, and her narration of Caste by Isabel Wilkinson in 2020 won AudioFile’s Best of 2020 for Nonfiction & Culture.

Soneela Nankani 

Soneela Nankani is an award-winning narrator with over 400 titles of Indian and West African heritage. Her audiobooks have been featured in Best Audiobooks lists by New York Times, AudioFile, Washington Post, and she was inducted as a Golden Voice, AudioFile’s Lifetime Achievement Honor. 

January LaVoy

January Lavoy is an actor, voice artist, and director, who has starred on Broadway. She was named Audiobook Narrator of the Year by Publishers Weekly and Golden Voice by AudioFile.

What are the key qualities that you find make a narrator exceptional? Let us know in the comments!

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