BY BRETT JAMES
How do you “read” today? Increasingly, people are turning to audio books as a way of getting content, instead of traditional reading. With audio books, you can listen on a commute, while exercising or doing household chores. On Friday, January 11, at 7 p.m., the Shelter Island Public Library will host Gerard Doyle, an actor and the voice of over 400 audio books for major publishers. Mr. Doyle has won many distinguished awards for his work.
Mr. Doyle was born of Irish parents and raised and educated in England. He has had an extensive career in British repertory theatre, appeared in the gritty musical “The Hired Man” in London’s West End and toured internationally with the English Shakespeare Company. He appeared in a number of British and American television series and on Broadway. Mr. Doyle lives with his wife and two children in Sag Harbor.
Mr. Doyle’s career in audio books began in 2000 when he was understudying a role on Broadway and his agent called to say that Recorded Books was looking for an Irish voice. Doyle agreed — though he didn’t know much about audio books.
“No matter,” he thought, “I can do that — I’m an Irishman.”
He won the AudioFile Earphones award for his reading of the wonderful Roddy Doyle book, “A Star Called Henry.” In 2008, Doyle was named a Best Voice in young adult fiction. He reads adult, young adult and children’s books as well as literary fiction, mysteries, humor, adventure and lots of fantasy.
Doyle has recorded all 14 of Adrian McKinty’s novels. Mr. McKinty, who lives in Australia, is known primarily as an Irish crime writer and has wonderful characters with strange voices. Doyle has researched various languages and dialects for the McKinty books, including Shelta, an obscure Irish language. When Doyle asked McKinty about the dialect, he responded that he had no idea, and Gerard eventually found an Irish professor who spoke it and worked on his narration via Skype.
Mr. Doyle is also known for Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance Cycle” series, of which the first title was “Eragon.” In “Eragon,” a main character is a dragon — what does a dragon sound like? As more titles were added to the series, more dragons were added, needing new dragon voices. At some point, to be mischievous, the author starting giving Mr. Doyle clues in the books, by describing what the dragons’ voices sounded like.
Please join us on January 11 at 7 p.m. in the Shelter Island Library’s Community room. Admission is free, but donations are sincerely appreciated. For more information, contact the library at (631) 749-0042.
Next Up: On Friday, January 18, at 7 p.m. we will screen the documentary, “Always at the Carlyle: New York’s Most Glamourous (and Discreet) Hotel.”