Welcome to my website

My latest book is a novel, just out

Daughters of the Labyrinth

set on the island of Crete where I’ve lived off and on since I was twenty.

‘Entrancing – a wonderfully rich and absorbing novel. LIke the best fiction, it tells a compelling story while deepening our understanding of the complexity of our nature. It is also delightful in its evocation of Crete and its many-layered history.’ – The Scotsman

‘Padel deftly sketches the complications of family as she teases away at questions of identity and home. Animated by keen imaginative empathy and a strong sense of place, this moving, satisfying, layered novel will transport you to the amethyst Aegean even as the real thing remains out of reach.’ – Daily Mail

‘A moving, superbly written exploration of a family with dark secrets. Crete itself becomes one of the main characters in the story.’ – Irish Times, Best Books 2021


Beethoven Variations

is a poetry biography of Beethoven laced with flashes of my experience playing his music.

Here is the review in the New York Times

‘Generous, painful, tender, gorgeously lyrical. With precision, heart-breaking beauty and lyric insight, Beethoven comes alive before us.’– Ilya Kaminsky

You can read about me and my life here

and browse interviews with me here

‘A daughter’s passionate quest for the truth about what happened to her parents in Crete during the German occupation and a sumptuous and sensuous evocation of Crete itself, its landscape and culture. ’  – Colm Tóibín

‘She winds us into coils within coils of a family’s dark history, horrific suffering and intimate sacrifice. She combines dramatic storytelling with moving reflectiveness, asking us to think again about whether it is better to remember or forget?’ – Marina Warner


You can explore all my books here:


On Beethoven Variations

Poetry, biography, music and memoir collide in this wonderful collection. A lyrical journey through the composer’s life, an evocative portrait of the man and his music,and the profound ways it affects listeners and performers.’ – Tatler, Best Books 2020.

‘Absolutely gorgeous poems, beautifully written. She has a marvellous way of surprising you with hindsight, atmosphere and context. An absolute masterpiece, I love it to pieces.’ – Jessica Duchen, Best Books on Beethoven

An adventure in poetry and biography, and a journey into creativity.

Tracking Beethoven’s footsteps through Germanyand Austria,drawingon his diariesand letters, Ruth tells his inner story, threading it with fragments of her own music-makingon Beethoven’s own instrument, the viola. She adds a brief prose biography and list of his major works,so you can see where music you love fits into his life.

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