Pseudonyms, aliases, noms de plume: whatever you call them, they’re a staple for writing. Authors have used them for thousands of years for a number of motivations. Pseudonyms were used to disguise the author’s identity to avoid criticism or even prosecution if the works in question were critical of those in power or flaunted obscenity laws. Nowadays, many authors use pseudonyms (or more) to write in different genres so that they can separate their romance novels from their detective novels, for example (see you, Nora Roberts / JD Robb!).
Unfortunately, pseudonyms were also used manipulatively. In 2015, one poem was included in an anthology of the best poems of the year under the name Yi-Fen Chou – only it turned out that the poet’s real name was Michael Derrick Hudson, a white man who took the name of a former classmate in who hopes it will give his poetry a better chance of being published. A few years later, Marvel came under fire for having a white comic book writer using the pen name Akira Yoshida even while writing Japanese-based stories.
For hundreds of years women have written under men’s names or ambiguous initials in order to avoid sexist restrictions on their work from both the publishing industry and readers. (This is very different from when male authors use ambiguous pseudonyms when writing domestic thrillers.) This allowed authors to gain access to spaces in which they would otherwise have been denied access.
Enough background information: let’s get to the fun things! In this quiz you will be asked to assign the author to his pseudonym. They range from classic authors who wrote hundreds of years ago to those who still publish books today. How many can you get