Audible, the audiobook giant, apparently has deep ties to Ralph Ellison, the pioneering author who wrote novels that examined race relations in America in the 20th century. Audible founder and CEO Don Katz took classes at NYU taught by Ellison, and received support from Ellison when he began his career as a writer.
Now, to honor Ellison, Audible is making Ellison’s classic novel Invisible Man free for the rest of 2016, in conjunction with a tribute being held for the author on Nov. 1.
Ellison’s National Book Award-winning Invisible Man follows a black man navigating 1950s America, a society that discriminates against him, thus making him socially invisible. (Fun fact: It’s also Luke Cage’s favorite book.)
“Jazz in the Key of Ellison” is a musical and spoken-word tribute to Ellison being held at NJPAC’s Prudential Hall in Newark on Nov. 1, with appearances by Katz, rapper Talib Kweli and actor Joe Morton, who also narrates the audiobook, along with numerous jazz musicians and singers.
Katz said in a statement:
Many people are unaware that Audible was founded by one professional writer but inspired at root by one of the most important novelists of the 20th century. From its earliest days, Audible’s vision and mission have been inspired by Ralph Ellison’s understanding of the power of oral tradition and his ability to hear the music in well-wrought arrangements of spoken words. My own fascination with the sound of well-composed words and the music embedded in language goes way back to my good luck of having Ralph as my teacher and mentor. In many ways, Audible exists today to honor his legacy.
You can find out more about the event here and get your free copy of Invisible Man here.