Audio Books at the Southern Festival of Books

I stopped back by the Southern Festival of Books for a quick session on audio books. Narrator and actor, Dion Graham, was the start of the panel today.

What I find fascinating about this panel was that audio books are a mix of technology and speaking skills.

An Interview with Dion Graham

From left: Ellen Myrick, Dion Graham

How do you prepare for an audio book?

  • Talk to the person if possible
  • Watch interviews and video
  • Catch the “flavor” of the author’s voice
  • Do background research of the book to deliver the essence of the author and their story

How does audio recording technology change, help you capture the essence of books?

An audience member said the went to the panel about recording your own podcast. The presenter there said all you need is a closet and your cell phone to record your podcast. Graham said he does know more and more authors recording at home.

However, he records in a recording studio. Graham said he likes leaving the mic set up and production up to the tech guys.

How do you direct audio books?

  • You’re going to receive the book the way the narrator receives it. You are getting it through someone else’s understanding of the book.
  • The director can create a fertile, safe playground for the artists recording.

On reading characters

“I just try to locate the humans.”

Dion Graham

Graham said he looks for the humans in the stories. He doesn’t try to see them differently or make the characters out a certain way. He said they have their own voices that speak to him.

I thought this was interesting because when George. R.R. Martin was asked how he writes women characters so well, he responded that he writes them as people. He doesn’t treat them special.

Watch a clip of Dion Graham read Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace

Do you prefer reading physical books or listening to audio books? Do you think you have what it takes to record an audio book? Let me know in the comments below!


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