Throughout the history of literature female writers have used male names to publish their work. For some, it was the only option, experiment, and for some, it was a creative choice. It s unfortunate that some great names such as Robert Southey considered that literature is not women’s business and it should not be. Using male pen names helped them to reach a wider audience and avoid questions on writing male-dominated genres. In this article, we are going to read about 7 such female authors who wrote under male pen names.
Female Authors Who Wrote Under Male Pen Names:
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Middlemarch which explores the provincial life of the 19th century, which is going through alteration of the modern age is a classic work of realism. It is still one of the greatest novels in English literature. Mary Ann Evans chose her pen name George Eliot to receive honest reviews of her work, not as a female writer. She chose the name George from the name of her lover George Lewes who motivated and encouraged her to write.
Andre Norton (Alice Mary Norton)
American sci-fi, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy writer Alice Mary Norton wrote under several names such as Andrew North and Allen Weston, but primarily under Andre Norton. She was the first woman to be SFWA Grand Master (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, and to be inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (The Brontë Sisters)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall that received success swiftly did not have Anne Brontë’s name on the first edition. It had her pseudonym Acton Bell, Anne was afraid of the reaction of the Christian society reading a book where the female character is the protagonist written by a female author. The sister’s Charlotte (Currer), Emily (Ellis), and Anne (Acton) published their first work Poems under their masculine-sounding pen names.
James Tiptree Jr./ Raccoona Sheldon (Alice Bradley Sheldon)
American fantasy and science fiction author Alice Bradley Sheldon is famously known by her pen name James Tiptree Jr. which she used from the year 1967 till death. It was not publicly known till the year 1977 that James Tiptree Jr. was a woman. She also used another pen name Raccoona Sheldon from 1974-to 1985. Some of Tiptree’s works include Brightness Falls from the Air, The Girl Who Was Plugged In, Houston, Houston, Do You Read? and more.
George Sand (Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin)
French novelist, journalist, and memoirist Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin was one of the most well-liked writers in Europe during her lifetime, even more, celebrated than Honore de Balzac and Victor Hugo in England in the 1830s – 1840s. She is considered one of the most prominent writers of the European Romantic era. She is best known for her pen name, George Sand. Some of her works include Indiana, Consuelo, La Mare au Diable, and more. She influenced several popular writers including Fyodor Dostoevsky, Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Virginia Woolf.
A.M. Branard (Louisa May Alcott)
American novelist Louisa May Alcott is known for her novel Little Women, and its sequels Little Men and Jo’s Boys. She grew up among famous intellectuals such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. During her early career as a writer, she used her pen name A. M. Barnard because her content was quite unladylike. Under this pen name, she published short stories and sensation novels for adults that concentrated on revenge and passion.
Kay Burdekin/ Murray Constantine (Katharine Burdekin)
British novelist Katharine Burdekin wrote speculative fiction which is concerned with spiritual and social matters. Her novels can be classified as feminist dystopian/utopian fiction. She composed her works under the pseudonym Murray Constantine and the name of Kay Burdekin. It was Daphne Patai who unravelled the name Murray Constantine and Katherine’s authentic identity while doing research on the dystopian genre in the mid-1980s.