Nine Notable Nom de Plumes

In honor of George Eliot’s (Mary Anne Evans) birthday today, let’s take a look at nine noteworthy literary pen names. Did you know these authors had “secret identities”?

           

Row 1: George Eliot – Best known for: Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871), Real name: Mary Anne Evans; Mark Twain – Best known for: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), Real name: Samuel Langhorne Clemens; Currer, Ellis & Acton Bell – Best known for (respectively): Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights & Agnes Grey (1847), Real names: Charlotte, Emily & Anne Bronte; George Orwell – Best known for: Animal Farm (1945), Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Real name: Eric Arthur Blair.

Row 2: Dr. Seuss – Best known for: The Cat in the Hat (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Real name: Theodore Geisel; Voltaire – Best known for: “Plato’s Dream” (1756), Candide (1759), Real name: François-Marie Arouet; O. Henry – Best known for: “The Gift of the Magi” (1906), Real name: William Sydney Porter; Pablo Neruda* – Best known for: Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (1924), Residencia en la tierra (1933), Real name: Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto *Legally adopted his pen name in 1946; Lewis Carroll – Best known for: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Through the Looking-Glass (1871), Real name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

Most of the authors above chose to write under a pseudonym either because they wanted their work to be taken seriously (especially challenging for women before the 20th century), or because they were hiding from a possibly disapproving family member or society. Would you publish under a pen name (or do you already have one)? Let us know in the comments! – Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Lovely Ladies of Literature — Literacy Month Edition

In a fairytale world where more and more little girls seem to be more interested in playing the “princess” than perusing the public library, we’re taking some time to honor women who, for some reason, haven’t managed to break through the doll and dress up aisle. Here we present a first, and hopefully not last, edition of the Lovely Ladies of Literature.

I must confess, this is my personal list of women writers who either inspired, frustrated or empowered me during my child and young adult-hood. I know the list of possible LLoL pageant contestants, those who are deserving of being included, is practically infinite. I encourage you all to create your OWN list by commenting below with a LLoL of your own. But, back to me– why did I single out these women? It wasn’t because I wanted to dress like them, wear make up like them, talk, walk or curtsy like them; it was that I wanted to live in the worlds they created. Or, perhaps I wanted to ask them WHY? Why would you write what I just read? I closed a book wanting to call them and challenge them about their plots and characters and process, or yell at them for something I thought was unjust. I had comfort, as I grew older knowing  that, even if I disagreed with them, I learned from them. I wanted to stand united with them knowing that they faced a tough road.

I wanted to travel that road myself – to create, challenge, or make another little girl think – to help a young lady understand that it isn’t a fashion magazine or a pink and purple sparkly dress that can define her femininity and spirit–  it  is a mind, a pen and paper.

So, here are our Literacy Month Lovely Ladies of Literature:

             

Row 1: Judy Blume, Willa Cather, Jane Austen; Row 2: Ursula LeGuin, Mary Shelley, Louisa May Alcott; Row 3: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeline L’Engle, Margaret Atwood; Row 4: J.K. Rowling, Shirley Jackson, the Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne)

Can you play dress up for the mind? If I could, I would want my mind to look like these.

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.