BBC Radio 4 listeners will be able to tune in later this year to a series of twenty unabridged classics, from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to The War of the Worlds by HG Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped.
The works will be available to stream on the BBC Sounds app at the end of the month, and we are delighted to see that the featured classics will also include Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
There’s been a growing trend in listening to audiobooks over the past few years. In 2018 alone Audible customers downloaded nearly 3 billion hours of content, while in 2015, a ten-hour production of War and Peace which was broadcast on Radio 4 over most of New Year’s Day, was awarded the plaudit of a “brilliantly high-brow binge” by the Guardian.
If you’re also a fan of the written word in spoken word format, and you’ve not come across the BBC Sounds app before, you can find more information about it here. We’re looking forward to hopefully seeing the rest of Jane Austen’s novels becoming available via the app in the future.
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What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Bestsellers and Northanger Abbey!
Female Authors Dominate the Bestseller List
Female authors were very definitely in the minority when Jane Austen was writing, but certainly not in 2017! The Bookseller‘s analysis of literary fiction book sales from last year found that there was only one male author on the list of top ten bestselling authors in the UK in 2017.
Topping the list last year was Margaret Atwood, who saw TV adaptations of The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace released last year. Sales of her books last year reached almost £2.8m.
Next on the list was Sarah Perry, the author of the incredible hit The Essex Serpent, with sales of approximately £1.6m. Third was the lately departed Helen Dunmore, whose novel The Birdcage Walk and her poetry collection Inside The Wave were released in 2017.
Also making the list were Italian author Elena Ferrante, and the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Naomi Alderman, whose apocalyptic novel The Power comes highly recommended by us at the Jane Austen News (though it’s nothing like an Austen novel, we have to warn you).
Award-winning author Haruki Murakami, who released his short story collection Men Without Women last year, was the only man to make the top ten. The rest of the top ten were Ali Smith, Zadie Smith (no relation), Maggie O’Farrell and Arundhati Roy.
Sadly, women writers still take up less than half of the slots in the Bookseller’s overall UK top 50 bestselling author of 2017, but nevertheless we can’t help but feel that Jane would be delighted to know just how far the recognition of female authors’ talent has come. Also, how pleased Mary Wollstonecraft might be that there has been such a vindication on the “writes” of woman (sorry, we just couldn’t help ourselves).
Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 102