Nominees for the 2018 Grammys were announced today and people are still talking about how this is quite possibly the most diverse list of nominees with women and people of color dominating the top categories. Leading those nominations in all the music categories is no surprise to many: Jay-Z for his 2017 release 4:44, with eight. While many of us tune in to the Grammys for the performances and to see if our favorites will walk away with the trophy, there are other categories that we don’t often see televised, but garner awards as well.
Of interest to us is the category where books are mentioned! Audiobooks! The official category title since 1998 is “Best Spoken Word Album,” but the category has been around since 1959 under a variety of other names. The first winners were Stan Freberg and Carl Sanburg, each won an award for their spoken word albums. The 2017 winner was comedienne Carol Burnett for In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox. Three U.S Presidents have won this award: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; Obama also won a Grammy for his first book, Dreams from My Father, while he was still a member of the U.S. Senate.
The nominees for 2018, emerged from a list of considered entries that numbered over 20,000 across all categories— many nominated by Grammy voting members, publishers, publicists, record companies, radio personalities, and other professionals. In the Spoken Word category, these included books about lost musicians like David Bowie, political analyses like What Happened by Hillary Clinton, as well as other memoirs and recorded books. Nominees were voted on by members of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), also referred to as “The Academy,” as are final winners. Fans cannot vote for Grammy contenders, unless there is a special category The Academy and its Board decide to open to the public.
The nominees announced today include an astrophysicist, a former presidential candidate, a Grammy-winning songwriter, an eternal icon, and a posthumous nomination for a Star Wars princess:
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling):
Astrophysics For People In A Hurry — Neil Degrasse Tyson
Born To Run — Bruce Springsteen
Confessions Of A Serial Songwriter — Shelly Peiken
Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In — Bernie Sanders, Mark Ruffalo
The Princess Diarist — Carrie Fisher
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on January 28, 2018 and will broadcast live on CBS from Madison Square Garden in New York. The host this year is James Corden, host of The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS. Corden is best known for his series of viral videos, Carpool Karaoke.