UCLan lands publishing industry first in latest venture with New York Times best-selling author

UCLan lands publishing industry first in latest venture with New York Times best-selling author Banner Image

University produces audiobook for Monsters in the Mirror

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has published what is believed to be the first ever children’s audiobook created for commercial release on a university campus.

As part of its second project with New York Times best-selling author AJ Hartley, UCLan Publishing has worked with AJ in its on-campus radio studio to narrate the audiobook for his children’s fantasy adventure book Monsters in the Mirror. The book first hit bookstores in March after being released through UCLan Publishing, with staff and students only recently returning from a whirlwind nationwide book tour in support of it.

AJ recorded the audio himself, which was produced by Director of UCLan Publishing Debbie Williams with production and editing support from students on the undergraduate and postgraduate publishing courses.

Speaking of his latest UCLan venture, AJ said: “In my other hat as a theatre professor I spend a lot of time working with actors, but audiobooks present a special challenge. I really love the way they return storytelling to an oral form; like telling yarns round the campfire or reading to kids. It's intimate and connective. I don't have all the skills a trained actor does, but I know the text intimately and hopefully listeners will get something of the passion and urgency I felt in writing the story in the first place. I hope so."

James Phoenix, a 25-year-old MA Publishing student, worked on the project as an audio assistant. He said: “Audio is such a fast-growing part of book publishing, with consistent, double digit growth over the last few years in the UK. Learning skills in this field means I'm stepping into the publishing with the ability to take a job position in audio and help make great content for the ever-growing amount of book listeners.”

The work we’ve done with AJ has been fantastic and it’s given all of the students involved a fantastic, hands-on unique training experience.

UCLan Publishing is the only student-led publishing house in the world and this latest collaboration with AJ comes after the author chose UCLan Publishing to release his 2018 thriller, Cold Bath Street. The young adult novel, which was set in Preston, was edited, project-managed, designed and produced by UCLan Publishing students. It went onto become a nationwide bestseller as well as being shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal literature prize.

Director of UCLan Publishing Debbie Williams said: “The work we’ve done with AJ has been fantastic and it’s given all of the students involved a fantastic, hands-on unique training experience. UCLan Publishing continues to grow and to be able to say UCLan is the first university to produce a children’s audiobook for commercial release highlights its strength in a very competitive industry.”

Monsters in the Mirror audiobook is available to download via Amazon, Apple, Audible and Google.

Lyndsey Boardman | 25 June 2019