Using pen names in writing is a long-standing tradition by countless famous authors. Every author has their reason to use pseudonyms. Choosing a nom de plume is a personal choice for the authors, and the bottom line is the author’s name on the first page doesn’t define the book. Our history is full of terrific books under aliases of excellent authors for different reasons. Let us look at a few of them, and the stories find the assumed names-
George Elliot Real name – Mary Ann Evans
George Elliot was one of the utmost famous and applauded English writers of the Victorian age, but that name only existed on paper. It was Mary Ann Evans who used the name to keep her identity private as female authors at that time were only seen as romantic authors. Moreover, she wanted to be admired as a writer and discovered that only a man’s name would give her that recognition. Her upbringing was the same as other country girls, but her ideas and opinions took her way into a bright future as she grew up. To not let her name become a hurdle for her masterful novels, she did so. Even today, publishers often ask several women authors to drive just by their initials, not to reveal their gender in front of the reader.
Robert Galbraith Real name – Joanne (J.K.) Rowling
There have also been authors who have concealed their identity to save themselves from an enormous amount of pressure; one such was Joanne Rowling. Throughout her career, Joanne has used various pen names for the same reasons. Rowling had no middle name so, she took ‘K’ from her grandmother’s name Kathleen. She published the Harry Potter series under the identity of J.K. Rowling. Subsequently, she moved on to explore other genres but did not want the same to be released with any hype or expectations, which made her adopt Robert Galbraith’s name. Robert means bright fame, and Galbraith means stranger, summing up to a famous stranger. Adding on, it was after an investigation when the identity was revealed.
Bell Hooks Real name – Gloria Jean Watkins
The lady derived her pen name from her maternal great-grandmother Bell Blair Hooks. She adopted her name as she admired her the maximum for her strong opinions. Even Gloria grew up to bold and robust and spoke fearlessly against the injustice she faced. She also received the title of the woman who ‘talked back.’ After her poetry publication, she decided to keep the name and not capitalize it to attract all the focus solely on her writing. She also uses her stage name to speak about feminism and race.
John le Carré Real name – David John Moore Cornwell
There have been various speculations as to the reason behind his name. He had accepted duplicity in his sense regarding this matter. Besides, he has circuitously also said that he no longer remembers the reasoning or the logic behind adopting that name. Conversely, in two of his interviews, he has partially told the story behind the name. He said that, aside from being a condition of his job, it was more of a matter of business ethics. He also added that even if he was catching butterflies, it was vital for him to use another name. Moreover, the maximum believed rumor is that he worked for MI6 in Hamburg, Germany, when he wrote his first book (The Spy, who came in from the cold). He made sure that the name was not published under his original name as the MI6 were not allowed to source their names. And this is not the winding-up. Numerous other authors have their names hidden under fictitious names for their personal reasons (some revealed, some just speculations).