CFP: The Grain of the Audiobook, Due 7 OCT 2019

We often think of audiobooks in terms of their counterparts, hard-copy books. They are, in the mainstream imagination, the audio version of an already existing book. However, there is a new crop of audiobooks that are exclusively meant to be heard and not held in our hands. We talk about the voice of the author, but we often don’t dwell upon the material voice that makes books (and shorter pieces) into sonic works. This conundrum makes us at Sounding Out! wonder about the audiobook as a stand-alone experience. What can sound studies show us about listening to audiobooks?

The January 2020 forum aims to explore this question. We invite you to propose, in 250 words or less, essay-length responses. We are not looking for reviews of audiobooks; instead, we want you to engage with sound as a text onto itself. Consider this post from 2014: “This Is How You Listen: Reading Critically Junot Díaz’s Audiobook,” which explores how Junot Diaz’s diction, tone, and mood influence how we interpret the content of the book.

Your writing can be personal, critical, historical, academic-y, or an iconoclastic mix of all of those. We welcome research-based posts and posts examining aural experiences through a first-person narrative style; many of our posts mix both. We also welcome ideas for podcasts as well as artistic posts that use the blog format to create an original audio-visual experience.  

Submit your 200 word-proposal to lms@soundingoutblog.comPlease don’t forget to read our mission statement, submission guidelines (and peruse some posts) before sending us your stuff.

Possible topics include:

Close-listening as a practice

Exploration of nuance of particular audiobook narrators

Analysis of an audiobook version of a text

Gender and/in audiobooks

Listening to audiobooks as a sonic experience

Redefine “reading”

Audiobooks as a genre

History of audiobooks



Proposals are due by October 7, 2019

Writers will be notified by October 28, 2019

First drafts are due by November 29, 2019 (must be available for edits during December)

Forum tentatively scheduled for January 2020

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