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Infographic: The Author Behind the Pseudonym

2468996828_d952637f13_bIt may surprise you, but many authors have chosen to publish under a pen name.

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, JK Rowling publishes her mystery novels as Robert Galbraith, Isaac Asimov wrote several books as Paul French, and John le Carre was born David John Moore Cornwell.

For some, using a pen name is a way to escape the hype and expectations that come with using their own name, while for others writing under their own name wasn’t an option due to the perceived gender roles or professional etiquette. James Alfred Wright, for example, wrote about being a veterinarian under the pen name Jame Herriot, and Michael Crichton used several aliases to keep his medical profession apart from his early writing career.

The following infographic by Jonkers Rare Books lists a couple dozen authors and their pseudonyms.

Do you see one that should be included? Let me know in the comments.

The Author Behind the Pseudonym

image by JefferyTurner

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Mzcue May 3, 2016 um 8:06 am

The infatuation with Ayn Rand by religious conservatives like Paul Ryan has always puzzled me. I wonder if the adulation would be quite so enthusiastic if she were known by her real name.

Nate Hoffelder May 3, 2016 um 8:07 am

I don’t think that would be an issue. Wasn’t she also vehemently anti-communist?

BDR May 3, 2016 um 3:29 pm

She was also against social security… UNTIL she turned 62 and could profit from it. She was against Medicare, too, until her life-long smoking habit gave her lung cancer.

There’s nothing quite as vile as a hypocrite of her depth. Yessir … she’s a GREAT Republican role-model.

Nate Hoffelder May 3, 2016 um 3:34 pm


And let’s not forget she also took money from Roosevelt’s New Deal so that her plays could be licensed.

Fjtorres May 3, 2016 um 6:41 pm

On the other hand, she correctly described the world we are living in 50 years ago.

Katy L May 3, 2016 um 9:12 am

How about Alice Mary Norton, who published as Andre Norton because women couldn’t get published in science fiction and fantasy in the mid-twentieth century (or because it was thought boys wouldn’t read books written by women in those genres, depending on which story you believe)? Or Catherine Lucille Moore, who published as C.L. Moore for the same reason?

fahirsch May 3, 2016 um 11:05 am has a list of pen names.
And an enormous list can be found here:

Nate Hoffelder May 3, 2016 um 12:06 pm

Thanks for the list.

Was Anne Rice really born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien?

fahirsch May 3, 2016 um 12:27 pm

So it says in Wikipedia:

Nate Hoffelder May 3, 2016 um 12:31 pm

That’s where I got it from, yes.

Other sources confirm.

Dog POV and the Brontes — a mashup this month | How To Write Shop May 25, 2016 um 8:09 am

[…] * The real person behind the pen name. […]

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