From Business Wire: Mahershala Ali’s performance of Audible’s version of “The Free State of Jones”

The following announcement of Mahershala Ali’s reading of the Audible version of my book, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, is excerpted from Business Wire. NOTE: The movie, The Free State of Jones, is not based on my book of the same name. Director Gary Ross provides his own interpretation of this true story in his original screenplay.

Vikki Bynum

May 03, 2016 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Audible Studios, a production arm of, today announced the release of acclaimed stage and screen actor Mahershala Ali’s interpretation of Victoria E. Bynum’s powerful historical account, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War. A major motion picture of the same name will be released this June starring Ali as Moses Washington opposite Matthew McConaughey and Keri Russell. The recording is now available for download at

Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali

“Recording The Free State of Jones was an education on so many levels,” said Ali, best known for his roles as Remy on House of Cards and as Boggs in The Hunger Games films. “I quickly discovered that it’s not a text that necessarily needed elevating. I found that my task was simply to move out of the way, and allow this rich, historically dense narrative to speak for itself.”

Ali is joined on this recording by author Bynum, who narrates the book’s introduction.

“Mahershala Ali’s outstanding performance makes this fascinating piece of American history accessible to a wide range of curious listeners,” said Audible EVP and Publisher Beth Anderson. “Fans will love experiencing the book through Ali’s voice before seeing him on screen, and will relish the opportunity to revisit the history with him whenever they’d like through the audio production.”

Audible FSOJ cover

With a 30-day membership trial at Audible, new listeners can enjoy any one audiobook, including Ali’s performance of The Free State of Jones, free.

In addition to Mahershala Ali, among the acclaimed performers who have narrated works of literature for Audible are Thandie Newton, Emma Thompson, Rosamund Pike, Dan Stevens, James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet and Tim Robbins. In 2013, Audible Studios won its first Grammy Award, for its production of Janis Ian’s memoir Society’s Child, and also won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year, for Colin Firth’s performance of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.

Audible, the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content, invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. In 2015, listeners around the world downloaded 1.6 billion hours of audio from outlets; Audible members downloaded an average of more than 17 books over the course of the year. Two thirds of new Audible members are first-time audiobook buyers.


Audible, Inc., an, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 250,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the preeminent provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.

Esther Bochner, 973-820-0781

Audible, Inc.

3 replies »

  1. I bought the new audible version and put in a good review on the site. I noticed upon reading it again that I made a couple of factual errors. Sorry, it wasn’t intentional; to the contrary, they were the result of haste to post the review to convince others they should read/listen to your book.

    On the other hand, some might say I gave my own interpretation of all your hard work and years of diligent research.

    I am elated you and the book are getting some just due.


    • Thanks, W. Perry Hall—I went over to Audible and read the review! I Really appreciate your taking the time to write there, and here as well, about the new Audible version. And I am so fortunate to have a great actor and intellectual such as Mahershala Ali doing Audible’s narration!



  2. I just purchased ‘The Free State Of Jones’ from Audible and started listening the minute it was downloaded. I have read the book, in fact, I have read all of your books Vikki, and can’t wait until the movie comes to the theatres.
    My folks come from Jones county and I remember my Mother mentioning the name Newt Knight on a few occasions. She was born in 1902 and, of course, some Civil War veterans were still around and telling their stories. She was teased at school about being from ‘the free state of Jones.’ Her fast quip was ‘Yeah, and proud of it!’
    My husband’s ggUncle was Major Amos Mclemore. He was my husband’s Grandmother’s ( Louisa Mclemore) gUncle. The uniform that the Major had on when he was murdered was seen by Jerry’s ( my husband) Aunt when she was young. The Aunt remarked that it was in a chest that her Mother ( Louisa )had and there was a bullet hole in the back of the uniform coat. No one in the family knows where the uniform is this day, and it is believed that it was probably burned when Louisa was cleaning her house and getting rid of old things not needed.
    I really would like to listen to some more of your books Vikki. Do you have plans to record any more?
    Kathleen Toomey Lott
    Plaquemine, Louisiana


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