Author have chosen to publish novels under a pseudonym for many reasons—a chance to work in a different genre without alienating their existing fans; a way to test how much their fame influences their books’ reception; maybe even to evade the prejudices of their time.
Unless they are known from the outset (the name of sci-fi author James S.A. Corey, “creator” of space opera saga The Expanse, was always known to be a front for the writing team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) pen names often aren’t revealed until they’ve served their purpose, or even until the author behind one of them passes away and there’s no point in maintaining up the illusion.
But every once in a while, a pseudonym is cracked prematurely due to either happenstance or clever detective work. And then there are the aliases that have never actually been revealed, leaving us with an enduring literary mystery. Here are seven authors whose secret identities were exposed before they were ready—and six we may never identify.
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