- THE NOMINEES for this year's Booker Prize were announced on Monday, and it took a brave broadcaster to say their names loud and clear. So that the rest of us who might want to discuss the Booker do not have to spend the next six weeks mumbling about "the author of Reef" and "that woman who had to publish her own book", here is a special Booker edition of Hughes's guide to pronunciation of tricky names in the arts.
- Starting at the deep end, Romesh Gunesekera, he of Reef, should be pronounced ROME-esh GUHN-ess-ECK-ur-rah. While there's a broad, if approximate, consensus about Gunesekera, most people I've come across, including his publicists and the person who answers his telephone, have been making the Rom in Romesh rhyme with Tom. It doesn't: it rhymes with tome.
- Abdulrazak Gurnah (Paradise) looks more daunting than it is. "People sound unsure when they ring up about him," said a spokesman at his publisher, Hamish Hamilton. "But his name hasn't been badly mispronounced yet." It's AB-duhl-RAH-zack GUR-na (not Ab-DULL, or Gur-NAH).
- Jill Paton Walsh is the one whose Knowledge of Angels was turned down by 14 publishers. Maybe they couldn't cope with her name. It should be Jill PAY-t'n WOLSH (not Worlsh). She is often pronounced Patten as in Chris or John, and/or given a hyphen between the barrels of her surname. …