Morgan Murray’s acclaimed debut novel, Dirty Birds, which begins in Saskatchewan, is now available as an audiobook, narrated by renowned Canadian actor David Ferry.
Audiobooks have been increasing in popularity recently, but few independently published books get audio versions due to cost. However, thanks to Dirty Birds success—including a string of nominations and awards, including the CBC Canada Reads 2021 Longlist, the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour Shortlist, and winning the Best Atlantic-Published Book from the Atlantic Book Awards—Toronto-based ECW Press’ audiobook imprint, Bespeak Audio Editions, signed on to produce the audiobook, which is available on all audiobook platforms as of August 30.
“I’m thrilled that Dirty Birds is now an audiobook and a whole new audience will be able to ‘read’ it,” says Morgan Murray.
“Not just that, though, to have someone as talented and highly regarded as David Ferry narrate, and Severn Thompson direct, it’s a tremendous honour. They did such a great job!” Says Murray.
David Ferry, who originally hails from St. John’s, has appeared in numerous film, television and theatre roles in Canada and U.S. Including films like The Boondock Saints, Man of the Year, and Three Men and a Baby, television shows like Hell on Wheels, Suits, Republic of Doyle, and Due South, and has acted and directed numerous stage production, for which he has won several Dora Awards. He has also narrated books by Wayne Johnston, Michael Crummey, and others. His performance of Dirty Birds was directed by well-known Toronto-based theatre director Severn Thompson.
According to Murray, hearing the audio version of his book has been a unique experience.
“In editing the 536 page book, I’ve probably read the thing 536 times. And it has always sounded a certain way in my own head. But to hear David Ferry perform it, and perform it so well, is such a treat. It’s like I’m reading/hearing the book for the first time.”
Since its release just over a year ago, Dirty Birds has received rave reviews and numerous accolades. ScotiaBank Giller Prize winner Will Ferguson compares it to the work of Kurt Vonnegut, and winner of Canada Reads Lisa Moore calls it a “joyful extravaganza.”
On top of the CBC Canada Reads 2021 longlist and being a finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour, Dirty Birds has been a finalist for three Atlantic Book Awards—Best Atlantic-Published Book, Best Novel, and Best First Novel, named a Hot Summer Read by The Globe & Mail, picked for the CBC Books Reading List for both Fall and Winter 2020, named to the ReLit Awards Shortlist, and took home the silver medal in the humour category in the prestigious international Foreword Indies Awards.
Dirty Birds follows the misadventures of Milton Ontario—not to be confused with Milton, Ontario—and his pursuit of fame, fortune, love, and the meaning of life as he moves from his parents’ basement the fictional village of Bellybutton, Saskatchewan to vibrant and bohemian Montreal.
“Things don’t always go Milton’s way,” says Murray. “He’s not particularly talented, nor clever, nor motivated, so he sort of stumbles from one mishap and misadventure to the next, getting himself into all kinds of trouble.”
Murray lives in Mabou, Cape Breton with his wife, cartoonist Kate Beaton, and their young family. He grew up on his family’s farm in rural central Alberta.
For more information about Morgan Murray, Dirty Birds, and upcoming author events, visit morganmurray.ca.
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