Naxos AudioBooks Narrator Juliet Stevenson Chats with Austenprose

Juliet Stevenson head shot 2I have had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing many of the Naxos AudioBooks classic recordings narrated by a variety of talented British actors, but collectively my favorite readings are those by award-winning actress Juliet Stevenson—whose five interpretations of Jane Austen’s novels remain paramount in my personal audio collection.

Awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1992 and the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1999, Ms. Stevenson’s vocal talent is deeply rooted in her classical training at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) and her time with Royal Shakespeare Company. While a friend boasts of seeing her stage performance of Hedda Gabler in London in 1989, beyond her audio recordings I have only had the pleasure of her film and television career—and that alone could sustain any lover of finely measured and intimate interpretations of human nature. Some of my favorite Stevenson performances are her tormented, grieving Nina in Truly Madly Deeply (1990), a part tailored for her by screenwriter/director Anthony Minghella, her outrageously pompous Mrs. Elton in Emma (1996), Evie in Being Julia (2004), and the Oracle in Atlantis (2013-2015). Everything she touches turns to gold.

EMMA 1996 Juliet Stevenson and Alan Cummings as Mr and Mrs. Elton

Juliet Stevenson and Alan Cummings as Mrs. & Mr. Elton in Emma (1996)

Narrating a novel is challenging work and I was curious about the process—how a classically trained actress such as Ms. Stevenson chooses her projects, interprets nineteenth-century language and prepares for multiple characterizations. Happily, she very graciously agreed to an interview via her producers at Naxos in England. The magic of the Internet reaps welcome rewards, and I think that you will be as mesmerized and enchanted by her insightful replies as I was.


I am particularly touched, in light of her largess, by her modesty—and for those astute Janeites—the similarity to Austen’s own comments about her lack of education.

“I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.” Jane Austen, Letters, December 1815

I am very grateful to Ms. Stevenson for her very educated replies, and to Naxos for satisfying my curiosity. I know that many of my readers will enjoy this interview and be motivated to listening to Ms. Stevenson’s fabulous audio work.

Discover Ms. Stevenson’s Naxos AudioBooks recordings:

Jane Austen

Other Recordings

Recording © 2015 Naxos AudioBooks; text © 2015, Laurel Ann Nattress,

9 thoughts on “Naxos AudioBooks Narrator Juliet Stevenson Chats with Austenprose

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  1. Loved listening to the interview! I didn’t realize that she had done the audios since I haven’t really gotten into audio books yet. Now I am definitely excited to give them a go. What a lovely lady!

    Good questions too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have been listening to Audible since 2009 and have always chosen my narrators carefully; and, Juliette Stevenson has long been my favored narrator. I only wish that she was available in more Audible books. Sincerely, Dr Roberta1, NYC


  2. Thank you for making me aware of audiobook narrator Juliet Stevenson. I listen to audiobooks frequently. I just now listened to a few samples of her book recordings and really enjoy her voice. Thank you for the interview and the info.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic interview! I’ve enjoyed a few Austen novels narrated by Juliet Stevenson, but I didn’t realize she had so many audiobooks. I guess this means more audiobooks for me to find and enjoy. Thank-you!


  4. Wonderful interview, thank you. I have loved every single one of of her readings of Jane Austen’s novel, and I have listened to them all repeatedly—I simply cannot get enough. Her characters and intonation are just so perfect, and no other versions I’ve heard can compare. One thing I’ve found a bit strange though is that, as she mentions in the interview, she has recorded all 6 novels, and I have even heard clips of her reading Pride and Prejudice, but for some reason it is impossible to find it anywhere for purchase online, and I’m just not sure why. I remember it used to be available and I see traces of it online, but it isn’t available to purchase as far as I can tell…anyway, lovely interview and I will continue to recommend her audiobooks to everyone I meet. Thank you!


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