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Finalists Announced in Sarah Awards for Best Audio Fiction

Bronxville NY, April 13, 2018 — The judges of the third annual Sarah Lawrence International Audio Fiction Awards (The Sarahs) have announced the finalists in this year’s competition for the best in audio fiction. The six pieces chosen represent a variety of audio fiction made this year, from science fiction to bi-lingual tele-novella inspired dramas. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on April 23, 2018, and streamed live from the Players Club Gothic Revival Style mansion at Gramercy Park in Manhattan. Appropriately held on Shakespeare’s birthday, the ceremony will be hosted by members of the Off-Broadway troupe Drunk Shakespeare, who will also perform.

The brainchild of Sarah Lawrence College Writing faculty member Ann Heppermann, whose own stories have aired nationally and internationally on National Public Radio, the BBC, and on numerous shows, and co-founder Martin Johnson of Stockholm, The Sarahs are helping to establish the genre of audio fiction as a pillar of creative story making.

More than 200 works from around the world were submitted in this year’s competition. Prizes will be awarded for First ($2,000), Second ($1,000), and Third ($500) places, as well as Honorable Mention ($250). Also announced will be the winner of the first-ever Brave + Bold Contest, a partnership between The Sarahs and Audible, the largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken word entertainment. The winner will receive a $15,000 development deal with Audible Originals to create an audio fiction pilot.

“This year’s entries produced the most international field of audio fiction we have had since The Sarah’s launched,” says Heppermann. “This comes at an exciting time for audio fiction as we are seeing a lot of companies open up audio fiction units. Our partnership with Audible on Brave + Bold has also presented a tremendous opportunity for new talent.’’

The six finalists are:

Almanak by Wederik De Backer (Belgium)
Almanak is a story about looking at the past and trying to see how to continue in the future. An old woman has to move from her apartment in a working-class neighborhood in Ghent. The only thing she can really take with her is her cat. Nico needs a break. He rents the apartment and is confronted with his own choices.


Celestial Blood by Gisele Regatao (USA)

Celestial Blood is a radionovela about love, mystery, and family secrets across borders. Released both in English and Spanish, it follows the story of twin sister and brother Sol and Mundo from Queens, New York. When they travel to Mexico to attend the funeral of their estranged father, they find out they have nine siblings they did not know about. All of them named after celestial bodies, like themselves.

Jayne Lake by Russell Finch (UK)

While at university Meggie lost her sight in an acid attack. Fifteen years later, she has finally learned to cope with her “dark gift.” Now an invitation to join her old college friends at a country cottage brings back shadows from her past. Jayne Lake is A Somethin’ Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Krleža, Stand in Line! by Vesna Mačković  (Croatia)

This radiophonic drama work addresses the invisibility of artists today. It also references last century’s Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža, who many times either overwhelmingly accepted or pushed away from publicity. Using the voices of three performers and the iPad effects looper produces experiments of voice, sound, and text on the subjects of invisibility, silence, or mishearing of the artist.

Romeo & Juliet by Mira Burt-Wintonick and Cristal Duhaime (Canada) 

After their suicides, Romeo & Juliet exchange frantic text messages when things go awry in the afterlife. Can the teens’ relationship survive an eternity? Starring Noël Wells and Paul Rust of Netflix’s Love, Romeo & Juliet is part of Pen Pals, a scripted comedy series that puts unlikely pairs in conversation. It is a part of Earwolf Presents and is a production of Stitcher.

Voices of the Revolution by Luke Taylor, Anne Coburn, Eli Susser, and Vincent Calianno (USA)

Voices of the Revolution is a science fiction podcast following Louis Themm, a 19-year-old who collects the stories of people swept up in a civil war, including soldiers, street kids, teachers, scientists, refugees, and war criminals.

This year’s judges were: Berry Sykes of Podcasts in Color; Nicholas Quah of Hot Pod and Vulture; Julie Shapiro from RadioTopia; Andrea Silenzi of Stitcher and Panoply, and Carola Haupt of Radio Papesse in Florence, Italy.

Sponsors of The Sarahs, who provide prize money and underwrite travel costs, include Sarah Lawrence College, Academic Federal Credit Union, KCRW, and Panoply.

About the Sarah Awards

The Sarah Awards are sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts college known for its strong focus on writing and for fostering creativity and experimentation. The College has cultivated the talents of visionaries like Yoko Ono, Meredith Monk, J.J. Abrams, Alice Walker, and many others. Sponsorship of The Sarah Awards recognizes the College’s commitment to furthering the intersection of the narrative, arts, and technology.

The founders

Ann Heppermann, a member of the Sarah Lawrence writing faculty where she teaches audio fiction and narrative journalism, is a documentary artist, reporter, and producer whose stories air nationally and internationally on National Public Radio, the BBC, and on numerous shows. Her Peabody award winning work has aired on numerous public radio shows including This American Life, 99% Invisible, and Radiolab. In 2011 she was named a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. She hosts the fiction podcast Serendipity with Martin Johnson.

Martin Johnson is the creative director at Ljudbang productions in Stockholm and a radio producer, journalist, sound designer, and author. In 2008, he won Prix Italia for his documentary “My Father Takes a Vacation.” His work has been broadcast around the world in England, Canada, USA, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Finland, Norway, and Ireland. His collection of essays called “The Ocean” was published in 2012 with much critical acclaim and is translated into several languages. He has written several radio drama plays.

Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence College is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college. Consistently ranked among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country, Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, for its long history of impassioned, intellectual engagement, and for its vibrant, successful alumni. For more information, please visit www.sarahlawrence.edu.

About Audible, Inc.

Audible, Inc., an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 375,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.