Awards & Recognition 2016 Odyssey Awards Speech: Jayne Entwistle, narrator of THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE

Jayne Entwistle is the 2016 Odyssey Award-winning narrator of The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, produced by Karen Dziekonski. Her speech was delivered at the American Library Association Conference in Orlando, Florida on June 27, 2016. Click here to read Karen Dziekonski’s speech.

“As I was preparing this speech, I had the word pluviophile on the brain which is: ‘someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.’ I would add: preferably while reading.

I am, of course, a pluviophile being that I’m English, and Los Angeles was experiencing a heat wave right as I was heading to an even hotter Orlando. At least Orlando has the decency to rain when it’s hot. If you had looked for me yesterday, you would have found me outside in the pouring rain with a drink and my trusty library book, protected from the rain, of course! I looked to the trusty internet to see if there was a word for someone who loves to read, not just a lover of books, as in a bibliophile, but the actual act of reading and I encountered this treasure which I thought I would share:

“If you’re not only an avid reader, but one of those people who simply cannot leave the house without a tome stashed in your pocket or bag, then it may interest you to know that Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott coined the phrase book-bosomed to describe someone who carries a book at all times. The phrase first appears in Scott’s celebrated 1805 poem, The Lay of the Last Minstrel.”

We can thank The Huffington Post for that gem that appeared in the article, 10 Words Every Book Lover Should Know!

When I think of book-bosomed, I picture a book being clutched adoringly, desperately, fiercely to the heart which is how I feel about The War that Saved My Life and it has taken up permanent residence there. I started re-reading the book in preparation for today and as I read chapters out loud, I felt a deep grief wash over me and try as I might, I could not make it through certain chapters without crying. Not the single poignant tear that winds its way delicately down the cheek kind of crying. The kind of crying that makes it impossible to carry on. Ugly crying.
I believe squalling is the word I’m looking for and yes, I have often enumerated to anyone who will listen the ways in which I cry in the recording booth, but this crying is different.

This is a story whose ache I feel as if it were my own ache. Reading the vicious lines of Mam, I felt the vitriol upon my tongue and as I responded as Ada, I felt the cut and sting of those words on my skin. It’s not enough to say I stepped inside the book but rather the book stepped inside of me along with Ada, Jamie, Susan and even Butter the pony.

With a handful of audiobooks under my belt, although quick segue-way here; I was recently on a panel with Scott Brick and Kirby Heyborne and they casually mentioned they’ve done about 700 audiobooks each…700! As I was saying, with considerably less than 700 audiobooks under my belt, I’ve experienced books that were hilarious, daunting, challenging, poignant, melancholy and even wretched (the story—not the quality of the book), and I have been thankful for every single one of them.

The War that Saved My Life lives in a category by itself.

Jayne (center) poses with Karen, Kimberly, and the Odyssey Award Committee

Jayne (center) poses with Karen, Kimberly, and the Odyssey Award Committee

It was certainly all of those things I have described, wretched, poignant, challenging but it also breathed as I breathed, wept as I wept. The characters took me by the hand and marched me down to that awful little flat in London, Ada’s prison, so I could see it for myself or put me on the back of Butter as Ada learned to ride so I could feel the airiness of flight and the freedom from being trapped in a body she was told she had broken, and I am so very pleased and humbled that the Odyssey Committee would greet me on that journey with this award. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

To [producer] Karen Dziekonski, thank you for trusting me with this precious and powerful book. To my director Jessica Kaye, thank you for bringing your heart and expertise to the studio. To [VP, Content Production] Dan Zitt and [Marketing Director] Cheryl Herman and your entire Listening Library team, you truly are all marvels.

And finally to Ms. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, from the first page I felt Ada storm into my heart and take refuge there. I prayed that I could voice her world with the same care, love, and craft with which you created it and deliver Ada unharmed to safety. I have been asked what I did to prepare for recording The War that Saved My Life and beyond the technical aspects of research and character, my answer is a sheepish one: I simply fell in love. Thank you for writing a book that will forever remain clutched to my heart. Book-bosomed.”

Karen, Kimberly, and Jayne at the Odyssey Awards

Karen, Kimberly, and Jayne at
the Odyssey Awards

Listen to a clip of Jayne’s award-winning narration here:

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Click here to read Karen Dziekonski’s speech.

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