Yesterday, I was VERY surprised and honored to find I had been listed as a finalist in three categories of the IAA (Independent Audiobook Awards). This was such a warm and welcome boost to my year so far, and particularly so because the two books I was chosen for were so dear and important to my heart. I’d like particularly to acknowledge the truly esteemed and inspiring company I’m in on these lists. To be listed among those one admires is so humbling. (One must try to resist feeling a fraud when placed at such a talented table!)
Bright Day by J.B. Priestley was nominated for Best General Fiction and Best Male Narrator. This recording is one I will always treasure. It is a beautiful gem of English literature, and was Priestley’s favorite of his own work. The opportunity for storytelling and characterization was an immersive joy during the weeks I went on this journey. In fact, I still keep the paperback close by for inspiration. Because it was such an important work, I fretted somewhat about doing the text justice. This recognition gives me hope that I did so.
I’m wholeheartedly grateful to Valancourt Books (themselves a treasure among publishers) for trusting me to take on this book, its first time in audiobook form since publication in 1948, and for being so wonderful to work with. Thank you also to everyone who continually reassures me that “yes, I can do this,” but most especially by a thousand miles and cheers my endlessly supportive and wife and soulmate, Janine Iamunno, who always believes in me, and most especially when I do not. A final thank you to the late Mr. Priestley, for gifting us this story that continues to bring me so many bright days.
Alongside the two other finalist placements, I want to give special independent mention to the placement in the Humor (spelt without the u, of course) category for my narration of the Vee James rollercoaster chuckle-storm, The Little Ship of Horrors. Vee takes long months of sweat and toil to craft these books, and I’ve always believed his writing deserves every nudge into the bigger spotlight. If you don’t know his work, please give him a go, and this book is a terrific place to start. In this particular book, he has taken a story concept (the psychotic, sentient plant) in so many unexpected directions. If you like Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, you will so enjoy discovering Vee James. Vee pours every last drop of his joy into these astonishingly crafted stories. His characters leap off the page into the narrator’s soul, and he has managed that rare feat of bottling our feelings of innocent joy. He and I talk often about how all his characters still have a special place for both of us, and never has a narrator had more pure and positive fun in his character playpen. Thank you to Jennifer Blom for editing this book so well! And, again, thank you to the missus, Janine Iamunno, for tolerating and encouraging my eccentricities whenever Vee’s characters are in my head. I’m just about to start his new one, and I’m certain it will be glorious fun!
Good luck to all of these finalists! You are magnificent and hard-working, and I hope you are all raising a glass with your own “personal cheerleaders” to this sweet springtime news!