You know the author, Neil G-A-I-M-A-N. Guyman? Gayman?

Neil Gaiman Fragile Things book coverIf you like to talk about books with your friends, you’ve probably discovered how many fantastic authors have puzzling, exotic names that it’s unclear how to pronounce.

I have discovered in myself an almost superstitious preoccupation with the correct pronunciation of author names. The more I love the author, the more compelled I feel to get the name right. At some level, I have the sense that whenever I mangle a name and let it stand, the author — wherever he or she is — will somehow know and get the chills. Realizing that people all over the world are probably just as confused as I am only makes it worse. Those poor authors. Well, here is a resource that promises to help!

TeachingBooks.Net offers an online author name pronunciation guide filled with audio files in which dozens of authors (many of whom write for children and teens) introduce themselves, tell us how to pronounce their names, and even tell us what their names mean and where they come from. Eureka!

Another online resource that offers pronunciation tips for the names of all kinds of authors can be found here.  The name of any famous person, author or not, stands a chance of being listed in this resouce assembled by the Wolfner Library in Missouri. 

3 thoughts on “You know the author, Neil G-A-I-M-A-N. Guyman? Gayman?”

  1. These are excellent resources. I heard Michael Chabon say to think of his name as “Shea stadium, Bon Jovi; Shea-bon.” That helped me immensely, although I can no longer see his name without thinking of Jon Bon Jovi. I still cannot get a handle on how to say Chris Bohjalian’s name, even though a couple readers have offered me guidance. I stumble every time …

  2. I’m still looking for a site that will tell me how to pronounce Chuck Palahniuk….. which I’ve heard pronounced about 5 different ways!!!

  3. I just found a FAQ on Chuck Palahniuk’s website that tells us how to pronounce his name — it’s the first thing on this list.

    Here’s what his site says:

    “PAUL-AH-NIK (Paula Nick). The story goes that Chuck’s Grandparents decided to pronounce their name as a combination on their two first names, Paula and Nick. As Chuck relates it: So many Palahniuk’s drop letters from the name. We kept all the letter’s but we probably say it the worst. The ‘Old World’ pronunciation is PAH-la-NYOOK”


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