Audible Inc., the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken word entertainment, today announced that in honor of Ralph Ellison’s influence on its formation, Invisible Man, Ellison’s masterpiece about an African-American man’s struggle to succeed in a segregated society, will be available free on Audible for the remainder of the year. The audiobook, which is performed by Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Morton in a rendition lauded by Audible customers in over 1,000 reviews on Audible’s website, can now be downloaded free at audible.com/ellison.
The offering coincides with a forthcoming words-and-music tribute to the great American novelist, literary critic and scholar and his remarkable jazz collection that will take place in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall in Newark on November 1st. The evening features live music by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, singers Catherine Russell, Angelique Kidjo and Patti Austin and music director Andy Farber, as well as special guest readers including Scandal actor and audiobook narrator Morton, hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, Audible founder and CEO Don Katz, and noted Ellison scholar Robert O’Meally.
The event will be introduced by Katz, who was taught by Ellison while an undergraduate at NYU and was supported by Ellison through his first career as a writer.
“Many people are unaware that Audible was founded by one professional writer but inspired at root by one of the most important novelists of the 20th century. From its earliest days, Audible’s vision and mission have been inspired by Ralph Ellison’s understanding of the power of oral tradition and his ability to hear the music in well-wrought arrangements of spoken words,” said Katz. “My own fascination with the sound of well-composed words and the music embedded in language goes way back to my good luck of having Ralph as my teacher and mentor. In many ways, Audible exists today to honor his legacy.”
“It is also fitting that we will celebrate Ralph’s deep love of jazz—and the jazz in his brilliant prose—in Audible’s adopted home town. Newark, New Jersey’s deep and formative connection to the African-American experience and to the American art form that is jazz is one of the many reasons Audible is headquartered here and why we believe in Newark’s bright future.”
“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to encourage our growing population of listeners, including students of all ages, to rediscover Ellison or to marvel at his prose for the first time,” added Katz.
For more information about “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” visit http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/jazz-in-the-key-of-ellison.