Siang Lu’s mockumentary about the Asian film industry comes to life with a cast of 14 voice actors
RBmedia, the largest audiobook publisher in the world, today announced that its production of “The Whitewash” by Siang Lu won Audiobook of the Year at the 2023 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA). “The Whitewash” audiobook was published by RBmedia’s Australian brand, Wavesound.
Siang Lu’s debut is a dark comedy about the whitewashing of the Asian film industry, told in the form of a documentary. Wavesound brings Siang’s award-winning novel to life in audio with a multicast production starring the author and more than a dozen other voice actors. Listen to an audiobook sample.
The multicast audiobook embodies the goals of “The Whitewash,” which champions better and more representation for Asian actors. As Siang Lu said, “The uniquely large size of the audiobook cast, and the fact that 10 of the actors in the cast are Asian, is a milestone in representation, and feels like a huge victory to be celebrated.”
In his acceptance speech, Siang said, “Even before this award, ‘The Whitewash’ made history as the first Australian audiobook to star a diverse cast of 14 actors. I’m so proud of my fellow castmates. I played a tiny role in the audiobook as well, and it tickles me to no end that I can now call myself an award-winning actor.”
Chiara Priorelli, Acquisitions Manager at Wavesound said, “Wavesound has always been passionate about championing new and diverse literary voices, and this unique audiobook was a chance to showcase Siang Lu’s utterly brilliant writing and bring the work to life in the most authentic way. The production of ‘The Whitewash’ has been one of our most complex to date—both challenging and exhilarating—and undoubtedly a true labor of love for everyone involved. Siang’s novel is hilarious, original, clever, and satirically reflects on ethnic representation in the arts.”
Yen Nguyen, one of the key voice actors for the audiobook said, “‘The Whitewash’ was a dream project. I connected to Siang Lu’s work strongly—as a film buff, as a fan of mockumentaries with the irreverent/meta sense of humor, and as an Asian person who grew up having these conversations in private. To be able to bring these complex ideas and stories together in a way that is at once funny, thoughtful, and moving is an absolute gift.”
“The Whitewash” was one of five shortlisted titles vying for the prize, including “Ten Steps to Nanette” by Hannah Gadsby, also published by Wavesound.
RBmedia is the largest audiobook publisher in the world. With more than 60,000 titles, our audiobooks continually top key literary awards and bestseller lists. The company’s powerful digital retail and library distribution network reaches millions of listeners around the globe—at home, in the car, and everywhere their mobile devices go. Our titles are available on leading audio platforms, including Audible, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Audiobooks.com, Storytel, OverDrive, Hoopla, and many more. RBmedia is owned by KKR, a leading global investment firm. Find out more at rbmediaglobal.com.
Wavesound Pty, an RBmedia international publishing brand, is one of Australia’s leading audiobook and large-print publishers. Wavesound was established in 2009 and has published some of Australia’s bestselling audiobooks. Wavesound works closely with leading authors to consistently deliver exciting titles in a broad range of genres.
About the Author
Siang Lu’s fiction and literary reviews have appeared in Southerly and Westerly. He holds a Master of Letters from the University of Sydney. He has written for television on Malaysia’s Astro network. Siang is the co-creator of The Beige Index. He is based in Brisbane, Australia, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.