The best audiobook narrators to listen to right now

Covering both adult and children’s books and a range of genres, these are the stand-out audiobook narrators to download and listen to right now. 

There is no doubt that the narrator is crucial in how an audiobook is experienced, digested and quite frankly, enjoyed. Not only can a great audiobook narrator bring a book to life by transporting us in time, space or even to a fantasy world, but listeners find can also comfort and relaxation in certain voices. We believe these are some of the narrators to do just that. 

No matter whether you listen to pass the time on your commute or to wind down at home, these distinct accents, humorous twists and soothing cadences, will keep you listening for longer. 

Jessie Buckley

Long Island

by Colm Tóibín

The long-awaited sequel to Brooklyn is read by Olivier Award winner and Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley, and features an exclusive audio Q&A. Eilis and Tony have built a secure, happy life; twenty years married and with two children looking towards a good future. But then a man with an Irish accent knocks on their door, and everything changes. Did Eilis make the wrong choice marrying Tony all those years ago? Is it too late now to take a different path? 

Stephen Fry 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

Delve into the intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent with master of comedy Stephen Fry. Arthur Dent is having a very bad day – no sooner has he found out that his best friend is an alien, earth is destroyed to make way for a galaxy highway. And he hasn’t even had his morning cup of tea yet. Stephen Fry’s voice is perfectly suited to the quirky Britishness of this classic – reading with his characteristic dry and sarcastic wit while remaining true to the book. 

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Julia Whelan

The Four Winds

by Kristin Hannah

American actor and author Julia Whelan brings emotion and intensity to Kristen Hannah’s moving story. Set in Texas in 1934, The Four Winds follows Elsa Martinelli as she and her community are threatened by drought. Then, Elsa wakes to find her husband has disappeared, leaving her to make an impossible decision - fight for the land she loves, or take her children elsewhere in search of a better life. This story of survival and hope is beautifully captured in Julia Whelan’s moving narration. 

Richard Armitage

Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

by Lucinda Riley

Once Thorin Oakenshield in the Peter Jackson adaptation of The Hobbit, Richard Armitage brings his considerable acting chops to Lucinda Riley’s highly anticipated Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt. This is the last book in the author’s Seven Sisters series, published posthumously and co-authored by her son, Harry. As long-buried secrets unravel, this epic conclusion finally answers the question on every fan’s mind: who is Pa Salt? 

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Chris Reilly

Young Mungo

by Douglas Stuart

Chris Reilly transports us to the housing estates of 1990s Glasgow in the audiobook of Booker prizewinning Douglas Stuart’s second novel. The Scottish actor narrates the story of Protestant Mungo and Catholic James as they try to transcend the hyper-masculine world they live in. This is both a vivid portrayal of working-class life and the story of the dangerous first love of two young men, read by Chris Reilly with both tenderness and guts. 

Maxine Peake

If I Let You Go

by Charlotte Levin

Best known for her roles in high-profile TV dramas including Silk, Black Mirror and Rules of the Game, and theatre productions of Hamlet, A Streetcar Named Desire and Betty! Maxine Peak brings the story and characters of If I Let You Go to life. The novel follows Janet Brown whose mundane life is turned upside-down when she is involved in a train crash. Both the author and Maxine are from the Manchester area where the book is also set, making this a fitting match.

Sally Phillips

Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

by Alexandra Potter

Hilariously read by Sally Phillips, star of Smack the Pony, Bridget Jones's Diary and Miranda – Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up is a must-listen for anyone whose life isn’t working out quite how they’d planned. Nell’s happily-ever-after in California falls apart when her relationship fails and her business goes bust. She finds herself back in London and having to start over. With the added charisma and wit of Sally Phillip’s narration, this is a book that will make you laugh, cry and generally feel all the feels. 

Pippa Bennett-Warner

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

by Kara Gnodde

Pippa Bennett-Warner has received high acclaim as a theatre actor and also has an impressive resume of audiobooks. Having already narrated literary favourites such as Zadie Smith, Audre Lorde and Jane Austen, her latest recording of Kara Gnodde’s accomplished debut does not disappoint. In The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything, we follow siblings Art and Mimi. Art believes that everything can be best solved with algorithms, while Mimi believes that maths isn’t the answer to everything - especially when it comes to love. Including a bonus Q&A with the author in the audio edition, this is one of the most exciting new listens for 2023. 

Hayley Atwell

The Confession

by Jessie Burton

Hayley Atwell, best known for her role as Agent Carter, is now busy filming for the new Mission Impossible films – but did you know she is also an accomplished audiobook narrator? Among her finest reads is Jessie Burton’s The Confession, which follows Elise Morceau as she falls for the sophisticated writer Constance Holden. Three decades later in London, Rose Simmons is trying to uncover the story of her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby – and then she finds Constance. 

Mel Hudson

Children of Memory

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Having already narrated the first two books in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s space opera series, actor and comedian Mel Hudson sends us back to outer space in Children of Memory. When Earth failed, it sent out arkships to establish new outposts. So the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carried its precious human cargo to a potential new paradise. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive on Imir, eking out a hardy existence. Transport yourself to another planet in the final leg of the trilogy, with Mel Hudson’s talented story-telling. 

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Robert Petkoff


by Amir Levine

If you love audiobooks, you probably already love Robert Petkoff, who has narrated a huge number of titles including Star Trek, Emma Donoghue’s Room and non-fiction bestsellers such as How to Win Friends and Influence People. A stand-out of his non-fiction narration is his recording of Attached, which explores attachment styles and theory on the basis that if we can understand these better, we can find and sustain love. The audiobook edition is a great way to digest and reflect on these often challenging themes. 

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Imelda Staunton 

The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

When it comes to one of the world’s most famous and favourite children’s books, only a bona fide icon will do. Narrating (and singing!) this children’s classic is none other than Academy Award nominated, Bafta-winning star of stage and screen, Imelda Staunton. She excels in this recording, shifting between her precise narrative and her dramatic representations of the characters. Whether listening out and about or winding down before bedtime, little-ones will be instantly immersed. 

Jot Davies

The Highland Falcon Thief

by M. G. Leonard

Jot Davies is at his best in The Adventures on Trains series. He is an energetic and charismatic narrator with a real ear for accents, following Hal and Uncle Nat's journeys around the world perfectly in audio form. We’ve listed Sabotage on the Solar Express here, the fifth book in the series, as it won Children’s Audiobook of the Year in The Times in 2022, but all of the books are brilliant. Each story can be enjoyed as a standalone listen, or as part of the full series.

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Sir Lenny Henry

The Boy With Wings

by Sir Lenny Henry

Who better to narrate an audiobook than the author themselves? And better still when that author is legendary comedian Lenny Henry. In this epic adventure, young listeners follow Tunde – a normal schoolboy who becomes somewhat less normal when he sprouts wings! This is both a laugh-out-loud story, made even funnier with Lenny Henry’s narration, and a story of family, friendship and courage.