How to Say ‘Palahniuk’


In an effort to curtail gauche cocktail references to “that dude who wrote Fight Club,” the latest Vanity Fair offers a phonetic spelling of Chuck Palahniuk’s elusive last name: Paula-nick. Now the Voice is doing its part to help readers avoid embarrassing pronunciation pratfalls. What follows is a selection from our Authoritative Guide to Saying Authors’ Names Right. So next time you’re invited to Planet Plimpton, carry this crib sheet—and relax.

Plimpton: Plim-town

Palahniuk: Polo-na-hook (replaces Vanity Fair version)

Oe: Ooo-eeee

Rhys: The s is silent

Wodehouse: Wid-HOSS

Gaitskill: Gaskell

Updike: Oop-decay

Wurtzel: Pronounced with a V

Sebald: Sebold

Chabon: Ka-BONE

LeRoy: Rhymes with La Croix

Houllebecq: Hail Beck

Murdoch: Say as one syllable

Vidal: Rhymes with fiddle

Eugenides: You Genies

Lethem: Second e is long

Safran Foer: Saffron [pause] Fore!

Waugh: Whoah

Komunyakaa: Sounds like it’s spelled

—Michael Miller (Mitchell Mahler)