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Four 2002 SWPA Awards for Naxos AudioBooks

LONDON, ENGLAND -- Naxos AudioBooks won four awards, including the coveted Adult Audio of the Year, at the 2002 Spoken Word Awards at the Dorchester Hotel on Friday, October 28. The awards were presented by the Spoken Word Publishing Association, a U.K. trade organisation for the spoken word industry. The recognition given Naxos AudioBooks by the industry confirms its status as the leading audiobook label for the classics.

Adult Audio of the Year, Unabridged Classic

David Timson's inimitable reading of Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet earned the prize for the Unabridged Classic against strong competition, and it also received the ultimate accolade of Adult Audio of the Year. It is part of the much-admired Sherlock Holmes series that Timson has undertaken for Naxos AudioBooks, with five volumes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes released so far. The sixth, including the famous encounter with Professor Moriarty in "The Final Problem," will be released in February 2003. Timson's distinctive characterisation of the contrasting characters of Holmes and his companion and biographer Dr. Watson is one of the highlights of the series. Also effective is the use of classical music in heightening the tension and suspense crafted by Doyle throughout the tales.

Timson, a well-known voice on British radio, has worked extensively for Naxos AudioBooks as an actor/reader (Conan Doyle, The Middle Way, and in many anthologies); as a director of Shakespeare (King Richard III, Henry V, and Twelfth Night); and as a writer/anthologiser (The History of Theatre, 1000 Years of Laughter).

"I enjoy the rich variety, but I have a special affection for the Sherlock Holmes stories," said Timson. "Succeeding generations never fail to discover the delight of these Adventures - a century after they were written, they remain the one of the best."


The Poetry Award went to John Kavanagh's compilation, The Life and Works of W. B. Yeats, which was read by Jim Norton, Denys Hawthorne, Nicholas Boulton, and Marcella Riordan. Yeats' famous poems are read in the context of his active life as a poet, lover, writer, political activist, and playwright. This collection was produced by John Tydeman and Nicholas Soames.

Jim Norton - whose readings of James Joyce form some of the pillars of the Naxos catalogue - received the award. His reading of "Down by the Salley Gardens," played as he picked up the award, proved to be one of the most memorable audio excerpts of the night. Writer and compiler John Kavanagh also was present. This is the third time that Naxos AudioBooks has won the award for its poetry recordings.


Children's Over 7

The ever-popular reader Jenny Agutter won the award for "Children's Over 7" for her sensitive recording of the children's classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, presented with imaginative use of sound plus music by Mendelssohn.

In response to the night of awards, Naxos AudioBooks producer and managing director Nicolas Soames said:

"Last year we won Publisher of the Year and three awards. This year it was the Audio of the Year and three awards, and I am delighted again. But I do think our continuing success is partly due to the fact that we are working with the best material - the classics. With all the glitzy promotions for popular novels, popular comedy, high octane fun, and games, it is clear that there is something intrinsically enriching in the novels and poetry that have lasted the centuries.

The greatest writers speak for all time - and our readers, carefully chosen, respond to the challenge of the world's finest literature. And, as always, the recordings are enhanced by classical music from the Naxos catalogues. It is a perfect marriage."


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