Off the Shelf

Who Wrote That?: 12 Books Written Under Pen Names

The use of pen names is as old as literature itself. Every genre has its share; our childhoods are littered with them (Dr. Seuss and Carolyn Keene ring a bell?). But few of us realize that some of our most beloved books of adulthood are written under pen names. Below are several of our favorite examples of pseudonymous (yes, that is a real word) works, from a classic of espionage fiction to contemporary science fiction and a certain bestselling literary series.

My Brilliant Friend
by Elena Ferrante

Following years of interest in one of the most compelling modern literary mysteries, the true identity of Elena Ferrante was allegedly uncovered by The New York Review of Books earlier this month. MY BRILLIANT FRIEND is the first of four bestselling Neapolitan Novels by Ferrante. This coming-of-age tale of two precocious girls in 1950s Italy illuminates their strong bond in the midst of the rapid changes Italy faced throughout the twentieth century.

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