Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album

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The Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album has been awarded since 1959. The award had several minor name changes:

  • In 1959 the award was known as Best Performance, Documentary or Spoken Word
  • From 1960 to 1961 it was awarded as Best Performance - Documentary or Spoken Word (other than comedy)
  • From 1962 to 1963 it was awarded as Best Documentary or Spoken Word Recording (other than comedy)
  • From 1964 to 1965 it was awarded as Best Documentary, Spoken Word or Drama Recording (other than comedy)
  • In 1966 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word or Drama Recording
  • From 1967 to 1968 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording
  • From 1969 to 1979 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word Recording
  • From 1980 to 1983 it returned to the title of Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording
  • From 1984 to 1991 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording
  • From 1992 to 1997 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Album
  • Since 1998 it has been awarded as Best Spoken Word Album

The category now also includes audio books, poetry readings and story telling.

Three US Presidents have won the awards: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, along with spoken recordings of John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Four U.S. Senators have won: Barack Obama, Everett Dirksen, Al Franken, and Hillary Clinton.

Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were handed out, for a recording released in the previous year. Winners are indicated in boldface.


Year Album Performer Author

Blood on Snow Patti Smith Jo Nesbø
Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks Dick Cavett
A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety Jimmy Carter
Patience and Sarah Janis Ian & Jean Smart Isabel Miller
Yes Please Amy Poehler
Diary of a Mad Diva Joan Rivers (2015 Nominations list did not credit any author)
Actors Anonymous James Franco
A Call to Action Jimmy Carter
Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America John Waters
A Fighting Chance Elizabeth Warren
We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration and The Power of Song Gloria Gaynor
America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't Stephen Colbert (2014 Nominations list did not credit any author)
Carrie and Me Carol Burnett
Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls David Sedaris
Still Foolin' Em Billy Crystal
The Storm King Pete Seeger
Society's Child Janis Ian Janis Ian
American Grown Scott Creswell and Dan Zitt* Michelle Obama
Back to Work Bill Clinton Bill Clinton
Drift Rachel Maddow Rachel Maddow
Seriously…I'm Kidding Ellen DeGeneres Ellen DeGeneres
If You Ask Me (and of Course You Won't) Betty White Betty White
Bossypants Tina Fey Tina Fey
Fab Fan Memories: The Beatles Bond Nathan Burbank, Bryan Cumming, Dennis Scott, and David Toledo*
Hamlet Dan Donohue William Shakespeare
The Mark of Zorro Val Kilmer and cast Yuri Rasovsky
Earth (The Audiobook) Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff
American on Purpose Craig Ferguson Craig Ferguson
The Bedwetter Sarah Silverman Sarah Silverman
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future… Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox
This Time Together Carol Burnett Carol Burnett
The Woody Allen Collection Woody Allen Woody Allen
Always Looking Up Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox
The Lincoln–Douglas Debates Richard Dreyfuss and David Strathairn Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas
Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon Yuri Rasovsky and Josh Stanton* Dashiell Hammett
A Very Special Time Jonathan Winters Jonathan Winters
We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
Wishful Drinking Carrie Fisher Carrie Fisher

* Album producers; performed by various artists.


Year Album Performer Author
An Inconvenient Truth Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon, and Blair Underwood Al Gore
Born Standing Up Steve Martin Steve Martin
I Am America (and So Can You!) Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report cast Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report cast
Life Beyond Measure Sidney Poitier Sidney Poitier
When You Are Engulfed in Flames David Sedaris Davis Sedaris
The Audacity of Hope Barack Obama Barack Obama
Celebrations Maya Angelou Maya Angelou
Giving Bill Clinton Bill Clinton
Sunday Mornings in Plains Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself Alan Alda Alan Alda
Our Endangered Values Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
With Ossie and Ruby Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This! Bob Newhart Bob Newhart
New Rules Bill Maher Bill Maher
The Truth (with Jokes) Al Franken Al Franken
Dreams from My Father Barack Obama Barack Obama
The Adventures of Guy Noir Garrison Keillor Garrison Keillor
The Al Franken Show Party Album Al Franken Al Franken
Chronicles - Volume One Sean Penn Bob Dylan
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? George Carlin George Carlin
My Life Bill Clinton Bill Clinton
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim David Sedaris David Sedaris
Live & Kickin' at the National Storytelling Festival David Holt & Zeb Holt David Holt & Zeb Holt
The Pleasure of My Company Steve Martin Steve Martin
The World According to Mr. Rogers Tyne Daly, John Lithgow, Joanne Rogers, Lily Tomlin & Andre Watts Fred Rogers
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them Al Franken Al Franken
Fear Itself Don Cheadle Walter Mosley
Living History Hillary Rodham Clinton Hillary Rodham Clinton
The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection Nikki Giovanni Nikki Giovanni
When You Ride Alone You Ride with bin Laden Bill Maher Bill Maher
A Song Flung Up to Heaven Maya Angelou Maya Angelou
The Great Gatsby Tim Robbins F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Kid Stays in the Picture Robert Evans Robert Evans
Lucky Man Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox
Nothing Is Impossible Christopher Reeve Christopher Reeve
Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones Quincy Jones Quincy Jones
An Hour Before Sunlight Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 Garrison Keillor Garrison Keillor
Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings by Mark Twain Carl Reiner Mark Twain
War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars Various artists including Rob Lowe, Noah Wyle, Joan Allen & Tom Brokaw; narrated by Harry Smith Andrew Carroll (editor)
The Measure of a Man Sidney Poitier Sidney Poitier
The Complete Shakespeare Sonnets Various artists including Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart & Al Pacino William Shakespeare
Married to Laughter: A Love Story Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara Jerry Stiller
On the Road Matt Dillon Jack Kerouac
Shopgirl Steve Martin Steve Martin
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. LeVar Burton Martin Luther King
The Chieftans: The Unauthorized Biography Nanci Griffith John Glatt
The Diaries of Adam & Eve: Translated by Mark Twain Mandy Patinkin & Betty Buckley with Walter Cronkite Mark Twain
Merle Haggard's My House of Memories Merle Haggard Merle Haggard & Tom Carter
'Tis Frank McCourt Frank McCourt


  • Grammy Awards of 1997
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton for It Takes a Village
    • Garrison Keillor for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    • Charles Kuralt for Charles Kuralt's America
    • Edward Asner, Ellen Burstyn, CCH Pounder & Alfre Woodard for Grow Old Along with Me, The Best Is Yet to Be
    • Lauren Bacall, Martin Landau, Jack Lemmon & Gregory Peck for Harry S Truman: A Journey to Independence





See also