Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
The Last Goon Show of All

BBC, 2hrs, pounds 8.99/ CD pounds 11.99

THE STAR of the show at this year's Talkies awards, the Oscars of the Spoken Word industry, was Spike Milligan, who accepted the award for . Stephen Fry was also given an award for his own reading of his unabridged autobiography Moab is My Washpot (Random House), as was Derek Jacobi, Performer of the Year, and Anne Fine, whose Tulip Touch (Puffin) won the children's fiction award. Hugh Laurie's Three Men in a Boat won the award for abridged classic fiction and Liza Ross's magnificent marathon Gone With the Wind (Chivers) the award for unabridged classic fiction. Travels With My Aunt (BBC) won abridged modern fiction, The Third Man (MCI) best film adaptation. Diana - a dedication in seven ages (Naxos) won the poetry award and Carole Boyd's reading of The God of Small Things (Isis) won for unabridged modern fiction. David Rintoul's reading of Culloden won non-fiction; Bernard Cribbins's Sophie is Seven (Cover to Cover) children's pre-school, and Victoria Wood's Live 1997 (Penguin) contemporary comedy. The two top awards reflected the achievement of those who take up the challenge of writing for audio. Tom Wolfe's Ambush at Fort Bragg (BBC), read by Frank Muller was Talkie of the Year, and Alan Bennett won the award for outstanding achievement. The winning titles are available by mail order (0171-491 4117) from the Talking Book Shop, Wigmore Street, London W1.

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