A morning of correspondence has raised an interesting point.
Further to my mention of Ruth Padel on Desert Island Discs, I’ve been asked if her name was mispronounced throughout the show. The show’s presenter, Kirsty Young, pronounced Ruth’s surname as “Paddle” which I must confess did strike me as odd at the time but I was so enjoying the programme I forced myself to ignore it. I’ve always put the stress on the second syllable, Pad-EL rather than PAD-el and assume that I do so having once asked Ruth how she herself pronounces her name.
When I was interviewing authors on a daily basis, the issue of names and how to say them was a near constant concern. We have all suppressed that mild irritation when someone gets our own wrong, I’m sure, and I’ve always found it embarrassing to find out after the event that I’ve been causing someone else to inwardly cringe. Rather simplistically I took the view that if in doubt then asking was the simplest solution. It paid dividends when having read “Half of a Yellow Sun” I wanted to record a show with the author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who was kind enough to repeat her name a couple of times until I got it right. I’m convinced that a number of publishing publicists only ever took my calls because I could say their names correctly, the fantastic Sue Amaradivakara not least among them.
Following this tried and tested method I’ve emailed Ruth for the definitive answer and will report back.