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Ruth Padel

Kirsty Young's castaway is poet Ruth Padel.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the poet Ruth Padel. She is a highly acclaimed writer who is fascinated with the natural world around her. She's said of her poetry: "wildness, and wild animals lie at the heart of what I feel about writing". And perhaps that's no surprise - she is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin.

As a child, her hero was Bagheera - the black panther from The Jungle Book. For a time, she confesses, she used to want to be a black panther. Later, she simply wanted to marry one. As an adult she has spent several years travelling across India, Sumatra and parts of Russia tracking tigers and trying to understand their lives. She notes ruefully that while her illustrious ancestor was involved in understanding how different species came into being, her own work was more a matter of documenting their decline.

Her interests have been with her since childhood. Back then, she says, "looking at nature properly, knowing the names of the plants, seeing how the petals worked, observing animal behaviour was just there. That was what you did. That was what being a person was."

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: E Voi Ridete? - And you're laughing? by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Book: The Iliad by Homer
Luxury: A lot of paper and pencils.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 16 Jan 2009 09:00

Music Played

  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Recordare (from Requiem Mass)

    Soloist: Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne Orchestra: The Vienna Philharmonic Conductor: Sir Georg Solti

    • Verdi: Requiem.
    • Decca.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132 - 1st movement

    Orchestra: The Borodin Quartet

    • Beethoven: String Quartets, Vol 5: Borodin Quartet.
    • Chandos.
  • Kathleen Ferrier

    Down by the Salley Gardens

    • Blow the Wind Southerly.
    • Decca.
  • Muddy Waters

    I'm Ready

    • Fathers and Sons.
    • Chess.
  • Giorgos Kalogridis

    To Giasemi Horis Nero - Jasmine without water cannot live, and nor can a heart without love

    • Giorgos Kalogridis 1945-1955.
    • Aerakis-Cretan Musical Laboratory.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      E voi ridete? (from Cosi fan tutte)

      Soloist: Marcel Boon, Werner Gura , Pietro Spagnoli Orchestra: Concerto Koln Conductor: Rene Jacobs

      • Mozart: Cosi fan Tutte.
      • Harmonia Mundi.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Concerto for Two Violins in D minor - 2nd movement

    Soloist: Itzhak Perlman & Pinchas Zukerman Orchestra: The English Chamber Orchestra Conductor: Daniel Barenboim

    • Bach: Violin Concertos.
    • EMI.
  • Μελίνα Μερκούρη

    The Boys of Piraeus from Never on Sunday

    • The Very Best of Melina Mercouri.
    • Universal.
  • Book Choice

    • The Iliad - Homer

  • Luxury Choice

    • A lot of paper and pencils


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Ruth Padel


  • Sun 11 Jan 2009 11:15
  • Fri 16 Jan 2009 09:00

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