"A Lady" and Five More Female Authors with Pen Names
Sometimes the names of great authors are veiled, missing, or falsified — especially if they belong to women.
Jane Austen used the coy pen name "A Lady" to publish her first novel "Sense and Sensibility," and on Jan. 28, 1813, she attributed her acclaimed novel "Pride and Prejudice" to the same pen name.
The notion of authors publishing works anonymously can be traced back to the earliest times. Invented identities may fool the reader and is sometimes done when a work is controversial in matters of race, class, politics, or gender and the author may face backlash. But sometimes a false or ambiguous name is purely a conscientious choice by the author.
Here are five more women who used a guise to publish their books:
1. Mary Ann Evans
One of the premier English novelists in the 19th century published under the name "George Eliot." Her novel "Middlemarch" is lauded for its realism and ability to grip readers with its serious portrayal of provincial life.
2. Louisa May Alcott
This author used the pen name A.M. Barnard to publish some smaller fiction pieces and published her most famous work "Little Women" under her real name.
3. Nora Roberts
Roberts published most of her work under her real name but chose to publish her ongoing true-crime series "In Death" with the initials J.D. Robb.
4. Joanne Rowling
Rowling also decided to publish her infamous Harry Potter series under the initialed name J.K. Rowling, and she published "The Cuckoo’s Calling" under the male pen name Robert Galbraith.
5. Erika Leonard
Leonard used the ambiguous initials E.L. James to publish her erotic trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey."
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