Featured Titles, In The Studio, Interview Narrator Spotlight: Cate Blanchet Joins Author Lauren Hough to Narrate LEAVING ISN’T THE HARDEST THING

Academy Award®-winning actor, producer and humanitarian Cate Blanchett joins author Lauren Hough in narrating the audiobook edition of Hough’s Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing (Books on Tape, on sale April 13, 2021), a searing and extremely personal collection of essays from the heart of working-class America, shot through with the darkest elements the country can manifest—cults, homelessness, and hunger—while discovering light and humor in unexpected corners.

Learn more about why Lauren Hough was so excited to have Cate Blanchett lend her voice to Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing:

I doubt I’ll have any words at all when I hear Cate Blanchett read these stories I wrote. She’s been so tremendously generous and real. I’m incredibly honored and deeply grateful, and I am going to lose my damn mind.”—Lauren Hough

“Surreal is a word I’ve been using a lot lately,” Hough says of teaming up with Blanchett for the audiobook. “It’s the only word I have to describe any of this—from my cable guy essay blowing up, to sitting in a studio, reading the words I wrote for the audiobook, my audiobook. It’s been a ride. I mean, all of this is so new and different, so completely opposite the life I knew, that every part of it, even losing my voice because I’m not used to talking this much is just f—ing fun. Surreal is also a good word to being able to text Cate and ask her if she’s ever considered doing an audiobook. You write these words in the dark, just hoping to connect, if only to yourself.”

I well understood Lauren’s hypnotic power as a storyteller, but in speaking her words, I truly understood the rhythmic heartbeat alive in every phrase. Aching to connect. Aching to be heard.”—Cate Blanchett

Blanchett is a fan of Hough’s writing, commenting: “Lauren’s perspective on the world at large is so startling that one can’t unsee, unhear or unread it. Her writing is a bugle call for the human spirit. Much like the woman herself. My conversations with Lauren over the last several years have been honest, raw and sidesplittingly funny, and I treasure her friendship and her penship beyond measure. It’s been a journey, indeed, from first reading her tweets and articles through to ingesting the galleys for Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing. But speaking her words aloud was perhaps the greatest revelation of all.”

Listen to a clip and discover more about this razor-sharp memoir:

Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing
Author: Lauren Hough
Read By: Cate Blanchett and Lauren Hough
LISTEN TO A CLIP: audio
At once razor-sharp, profoundly brave, and often very, very funny, the essays in Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing interrogate our notions of ecstasy, queerness, and what it means to live freely. Each piece is a reckoning: of survival, identity, and how to reclaim one’s past when carving out a future.
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