On March 28, the Audio Publisher Association's annual Audie Awards returned in person for the first time since 2020. Professionals from across the audiobook industry dressed to the nines and convened at Pier Sixty in Chelsea for the award ceremony, preceded by a bustling cocktail hour. Under rows of string lights, an animated and densely packed crowd socialized over drinks and hors d'oeuvres, catching up and talking shop, until the main event began at 9pm.

The ceremony opened with a performance by narrators Vikas Adam and Erin Bennett, who delivered a Hamilton-style rap number extolling the virtues of audiobooks. Then the evening's host, comedian Michelle Buteau, delivered her lively, irreverent opening remarks. "What's going on, bitches!?" she announced as she took the stage, the skyline over the Hudson River glittering behind her. All evening, she delighted in poking fun at the audience, which was a full house of what she called "beautiful little weirdos in sequins."

Later, APA president and v-p and publisher of Hachette Audio Anna Maria Allessi took the stage to thank the audiobook community for its continued support of the APA during the past three years of the pandemic. The last in-person Audies, she reminded the crowd, took place on March 2, 2020, at which point whispers of the impending coronavirus were acknowledged by attendees but did not deter the festivities.

Across the 26 category winners announced, the evening's biggest winner was Finding Me, written and narrated by Viola Davis (HarperAudio), which took home the awards for Narration by Author and Audiobook of the Year. Other notable winners were Unprotected, written and narrated by Billy Porter (Recorded Books), which received the award for autobiography/memoir; Mad Honey, by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan, narrated by Carrie Coon, Key Taw, Picoult, and Boylan (PRH Audio), which won the fiction prize; Happy-Go-Lucky, written and narrated by David Sedaris (Hachette Audio), which won the humor prize; and Rosamund Pike, who won the best female narrator award for Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World (Macmillan Audio).

This year's special guest judges were EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg and Audiofile's Robin Whitten, who both judged the Young Listeners Category. Via pre-recorded video, Goldberg also announced the inaugural winners of the Audies' new special industry achievement award. Winners are nominated by APA members and selected by the APA board for "having had a significant impact on the audiobook industry in the past year." This year's winners, honored for their "work to ensure higher inclusivity in audio publishing," were Richard Rieman, founder and CEO of Imagination Storybooks, and Penguin Random House audio producers Amber Beard and Kelly Gildea.

The complete list of winners can be found here.