The winners of the Spoken Word Awards for audiobooks - formerly known as the Talkies - will be announced at the Dorchester Hotel in London next Thursday. The new title befits the awards' position as the audiobook world's Booker and Whitbread, and this year there is the extra encouragement of silver and bronze awards alongside the gold.
There are two children's categories: Seven and Under and Over Seven. Inkpen reappears on the shortlist for the younger age group with his delightful Kipper's A to Z read by the ever-amusing Dawn French. The other contenders are Eric Hill's Spot's Bedtime Book , read by Christopher Timothy, and Richard Adams's Winter on Watership Down which, with Richard Briers at the wheel, makes irresistible listening.
The shortlist for Over Seven features J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , read by Stephen Fry; Jacqueline Wilson's The Illustrated Mum , read by Piera Johnson; and Kevin Crossley-Holland's The Seeing Stone , read by Samuel West.
The shortlist for Unabridged Classic Fiction includes some first-rate stuff: Aldous Huxley's Chrome Yellow superbly read by Michael Maloney; Jim Norton's beautiful reading of Joyce's Dubliners ; David Troughton's equally fine reading of Turgenev's First Love ; and Peter Joyce's reading of Grant Allen's The Woman Who Did .
- Picture: Stephen Fry, on the short list