Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Writers Undercover

Pen names or pseudonyms have been used by writers for many years and various reasons.
Some authors, like Voltaire, had to use a fictitious name because of his polemic writings about the politics in France. Other writers use pen names because they write both fiction and non fiction works and want to avoid confusing readers. There are some writers that feel like their real names wouldn’t sell as well as a pen name, and authors sometimes use more than one pen name, like Edward Alexander Crowley, who used 150 pseudonyms during his prolific life.

Women writers are well known for the use of pseudonyms. Since female authors were not well received or viewed in society in the past, women kept on writing but signed their books using a masculine name. Doris Lessing, famous writer and contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote a couple of works using a pen name. In this case, she did it as an experiment to show the world the difficulties a new unknown writer faces.

In other countries, like Japan and Persian cultures, pen names come with the genera used by the author. For example, if the author writes poetry or haiku, it is normal for them to use a pseudonym to sign their works.

Next, a list of some famous writer’s pen names:

J.K Rowling: Joanne Kathleen Rowling
Mark Twain: Samuel Clemens
George Sand: Aurore Dudevant
George Eliot: Mary Ann Evans
“a lady”: Jane Austen
Agatha Christie: Mary Westmacott
Dean Koontz: David Axton, Leonard Chris, Brian Coffey, Deanna Dwyer, K.R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Arthur North, Richard Page, Owen West.
Danielle Steel: Danielle Fernande Dominique Schuelein-Steel
Michael Crichton: Michael Douglas, Jeffrey Hudson, John Lange
Nora Roberts: J. D. Robb
Stephen King: Richard Bachman, John Swithen

Do you know any other pen names?

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