Simon Vance

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Simon Vance
Audiobook narrator Simon Vance (2018).
Born (1955-12-16) December 16, 1955 (age 65)
OccupationActor, Narrator
Years active1975 - present
WebsiteSimon Vance

Simon Vance (born December 16, 1955) is an audiobook narrator and actor who performs contemporary literary works as well as classics, children's books, and nonfiction. He has won 16 Audie Awards[1] since 2002. Specializing in single-voice narration, he was named the American Library Association's Booklist Magazine Voice of Choice[2] in 2008, and has earned AudioFile Magazine's Earphones Award for more than 60 performances since 1998.[3] He has also narrated audiobooks under the names of Richard Matthews and Robert Whitfield.[4] He lives in Los Angeles, California.[5]

Early career[edit]

Simon Vance was born in Brighton, England, on December 16, 1955, to John Hazlett Vance and Rosemary Elizabeth Catherine Vance (née Higgs). In a 2008 interview with AudioFile Magazine,[4] he recalled making his first audiobook recording at the age of six when he was offered a microphone into which he read Winnie the Pooh.[6] In 1975, he performed his first radio broadcast, over BBC Radio Brighton. He joined BBC Radio 4 in 1983 where he remained until 1992.[7] During this same decade-long period, he also recorded audiobooks for the UK's Royal National Institute of Blind People.[4]

In 1992, he immigrated to the United States, settling in California. By 2001 he was becoming a recognized male narrator who could perform a range of genres and styles, including James Bond thrillers, British classics from Charles Dickens and Sir Walter Scott, biographies of historic leaders including Winston Churchill, science fiction, political science, and nonfiction.[citation needed]

Career highlights[edit]

Vance's narration work has received praise from AudioFile Magazine.[8] The American Library Association's review journal, Booklist Magazine has given him a number of starred reviews, including those for his narrations of Mick Wall's When Giants Walked the Earth: A biography of Led Zeppelin (Blackstone, 2010)[9] and Lyndsay Faye's The Whole Art of Detection: The lost mysteries of Sherlock Holmes (HighBridge, 2017).[10] In 2008, librarian and readers' advisory developer Joyce Saricks wrote in Booklist that Vance brings several strengths to his narration work: his ability to capture the author's tone, his capacity to inhabit characters in his storytelling, and his facility with accents and knowledge of languages.[2]

Vance's interest in books, literature, and authors has led him on special projects related to his narration work. When hired by Recorded Books to narrate Alan Moore's Jerusalem, a novel of more than 1,100 pages, he traveled to Northampton, England, to spend time with the author as part of his preparation for reading the 61-hour recording.[11][12] The visit provided the opportunity for Vance to receive correct pronunciations Moore had bestowed on some characters in the novel, as well as to accompany the author around his neighborhood, with specific places in it that Moore had included within his fiction.[citation needed]

Vance's catalog of performances numbers about 1000 titles.[5]


Between 2002 and 2006, Vance was nominated for six Audie Awards. In 2006, his nomination in the Science Fiction category also became his first win, for his narration of Market Forces (Tantor Media, 2005). Vance hosted the awards in 2018.[13] He has been nominated for more than forty Audie Awards, and has won for the following:[1]

Audie Awards
Book Publication


Award category Publisher
Market Forces 2005 Best narration in science fiction Tantor Media
Dune 2007 Best narration of science fiction (shared) Macmillan Audio
Great Expectations 2008 Best narration of a classic Tantor Media
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest 2010 Best narration of a thriller/suspense Random House
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby 2011 Best narration of a classic Tantor Media
The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy 2011 Best solo narration - male Tantor Media[14]
Dracula 2012 Distinguished achievement in production (shared)
Best multi-voiced performance (shared)
Audible, Inc.[15]
Bring Up the Bodies 2012 Best narration of literary fiction Macmillan Audio
The Tao of Pooh 2012 Best narration of a personal development work Tantor Media
The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild 2013 Best narration of biography/memoir Tantor Media
The Complete Sherlock Holmes: The Heirloom Edition 2013 Best narration of a classic Brilliance Audio
Euphoria: A Novel 2014 Best narration of literary fiction (shared) Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Jerusalem 2016 Best male narrator Recorded Books
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye 2017 Best narration of a mystery Random House Audio[13]
The Punishment She Deserves 2018 Best narration of a mystery Penguin Random House Audio[16]

He has earned Earphone Award notices among reviews there, including one for his performance of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows[17] and Charles Nicholl's literary biography The Lodger Shakespeare (Tantor Audio).[18]


  1. ^ a b "Audie Award Winners". Audio Publishers Association. Audio Publishers Association. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b Saricks, Joyce (1 June 2008). "Voice of Choice: Simon Vance". Booklist Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Search Audiobook Reviews". AudioFile Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Narrators: Simon Vance". AudioFile Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (10 June 2019). "Audiobook narrator Simon Vance has told a thousand stories. This is his". Pasadena Star-News. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  6. ^ Fancher, Lou (30 May 2013). "'Lifting the written word off the page;' Concord's Vance well-known among audiobook devotees". The Mercury News. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  7. ^ Guthmann, Edward (14 May 2013). "Characters Come to Life in His Voice". San Francisco Chronicle. Pressreader. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  8. ^ Scott, Aurelia C. "Talking with Simon Vance". AudioFile Magazine.
  9. ^ Tribby, Mike (1 March 2010). "When Giants Walked the Earth". Booklist Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  10. ^ Scott, Whitney (July 2017). "The Whole Art of Detection". Booklist Magazine.
  11. ^ Johnston, Rich (4 June 2016). "The Man Who Has Read Alan Moore's Jerusalem. Out Loud". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  12. ^ Schwartz, John (17 May 2013). "When Words Sing". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  13. ^ a b Coreno, Annie (4 June 2018). "'Lincoln in the Bardo' Wins Top Honor at 23rd Annual Audie Awards". Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  14. ^ Boretz, Adam (6 June 2012). "BEA 2012: Tina Fey's 'Bossypants' Wins Big at 17th Annual Audie Awards". Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  15. ^ Boretz, Adam (31 May 2013). "BEA 2013: Audible Takes Top Audie Awards". Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  16. ^ Maher, John (2019-03-05). "Adeyemi, Turpin Win Top Award at 2019 Audies". Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  17. ^ Taylor, Lisa (November 2017). "The Wind in the Willows". AudioFile Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  18. ^ Scott, Aurelia (June 2008). "The Lodger Shakespeare". AudioFile Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]