Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 adopted by an author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution
Retribution may refer to:* Retributive justice* Retribution Engine, a video game engine* Retribution , a novel by Jilliane Hoffman* Retribution , a poem by Longfellow...

 for his or her writings, or for any of a number of reasons related to the marketing or aesthetic presentation of the work. The author's name may be known only to the publisher, or may come to be common knowledge.

Western literature

An author may use a pen name if his or her real name is likely to be confused with that of another author or notable individual.
Some authors who regularly write in more than one genre use different pen names for each. Romance
Romance novel
The romance novel is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." Through the late...

 writer Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts is a bestselling American author of more than 209 romance novels. She writes as J.D. Robb for the "In Death" series, and has also written under the pseudonym Jill March...

 writes erotic thriller
Erotic thriller
The erotic thriller is a film and literary sub-genre which consists of a mixture between erotica and thriller. The genre increased in North American popularity from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, before declining in marketability.-1980s:...

s under the pen name J.D. Robb, and Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 used the aliases "Mark Twain" and "Sieur Louis de Conte" for different works. Similarly, an author who writes both fiction and non-fiction (such as the mathematician and fantasy writer Charles Dodgson, who wrote as Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

) may use a pseudonym for fiction writing. Science fiction author Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

 has used the name H.N. Turtletaub for a number of historical novels he has written because he and his publisher felt that the presumed lower sales of those novels might hurt book store orders for the novels he writes under his own name.

Occasionally a pen name is employed to avoid overexposure. Prolific authors for pulp magazine
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

s often had two and sometimes three short stories appearing in one issue of a magazine; the editor would create several fictitious author names to hide this from readers. Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

 wrote stories under pseudonyms so that more of his works could be published in a single magazine. Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

 published four novels under the name Richard Bachman
Richard Bachman
Richard Bachman is a pseudonym used by horror fiction author Stephen King.-Origin:At the beginning of Stephen King's career, the general view among publishers was such that an author was limited to a book every year, since publishing more would not be acceptable to the public...

 because publishers didn't feel the public would buy more than one novel per year from a single author. Eventually, after critics found a large number of style similarities, publishers revealed Bachman's true identity.

Sometimes a pen name is used because an author believes that his name does not suit the genre he is writing in. Western novelist Pearl Gray dropped his first name and changed the spelling of his last name to become Zane Grey
Zane Grey
Zane Grey was an American author best known for his popular adventure novels and stories that presented an idealized image of the Old West. Riders of the Purple Sage was his bestselling book. In addition to the success of his printed works, they later had second lives and continuing influence...

, because he believed that his real name did not suit the Western genre. Romance novelist Angela Knight
Angela Knight (author)
Angela Knight is an American author of mostly erotic fantasy. She was a reporter for ten years and a comic book author. She lives in South Carolina. First published under Red Sage, she was able to write romantic fiction for the first time in 1996. She published several short stories in their...

 writes under that name instead of her actual name (Julie Woodcock) because of the double entendre
Double entendre
A double entendre or adianoeta is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Often the first meaning is straightforward, while the second meaning is less so: often risqué or ironic....

 of her surname in the context of that genre.

Edward Gorey
Edward Gorey
Edward St. John Gorey was an American writer and artist noted for his macabre illustrated books.-Early life:...

 had dozens of pseudonyms, apparently for his own amusement, each one an anagram
An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., orchestra = carthorse, A decimal point = I'm a dot in place, Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort. Someone who...

 of his real name.

C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

 used two different pseudonyms for different reasons. He published a collection of poems (Spirits in Bondage) and a narrative poem (Dymer) under the pen name "Clive Hamilton", to avoid harming his reputation as a don
University don
A don is a fellow or tutor of a college or university, especially traditional collegiate universities such as Oxford and Cambridge in England.The term — similar to the title still used for Catholic priests — is a historical remnant of Oxford and Cambridge having started as ecclesiastical...

 at Oxford University. His book entitled A Grief Observed, which describes his experience of bereavement, was originally released under the pseudonym "N. W. Clerk"

Essayist and poet Eric Blair adopted the pseudonym George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

 for most of his books, including Animal Farm
Animal Farm
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II...

 and Nineteen Eighty Four. This was done because he felt himself to be insufficiently established in his writing career to publish under his real name.

In some forms of fiction, the pen name adopted is the name of the lead character, to suggest to the reader that the book is a (fictional) autobiography. Daniel Handler
Daniel Handler
Daniel Handler is an American author, screenwriter and accordionist. He is best known for his work under the pen name Lemony Snicket.-Personal life:...

 used the pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket is the pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler . Snicket is the author of several children's books, serving as the narrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events and appearing as a character within the series. Because of this, the name Lemony Snicket may refer to both a fictional...

 to present his A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of children's novels by Lemony Snicket which follows the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents' death in an arsonous house fire...

 books as memoirs by an acquaintance of the main characters.

Legendary comic book writer Stan Lee
Stan Lee
Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics....

 was born Stanley Lieber. He adopted the pen name Stan Lee because he intended to save his real name for more literary products than comic books. However, Lee's hoped for novelistic career never materialized and after he became arguably the most important comic book creator in history he changed his name legally to Stan Lee.

Some, however, do this to fit a certain theme. One famous example, Pseudonymous Bosch
Pseudonymous Bosch
Pseudonymous Bosch is the pen name of Raphael Simon, author of the Secret Series children's books. The name plays off that of the artist Hieronymus Bosch, with the first name a combination of the words pseudonym and anonymous. The Secret Series is a pentalogy of novels based on the five senses:...

, used his pen name just to expand the theme of secrecy in The Secret Series
The Name of this Book is Secret
The Name of this Book is Secret is a 2007 fantasy novel for young readers by Pseudonymous Bosch. It chronicles the adventures of two children, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they investigate the mysterious death of local Pietro Bergamo. As you find out later in the book, he is not really dead...


Female authors

Some female authors have used pen names to ensure that their works were accepted by publishers and/or the public. Such is the case of Peru's famous Clarinda
Clarinda (poet)
Clarinda was the pen name used by an anonymous Peruvian poet, generally assumed to be a woman, who wrote in the early 17th Century. The only work attributed to her is the long poem Discourse in Praise of Poetry , which was printed in Seville in 1608. She is one of very few female, Spanish-speaking...

, whose work was published in the early 17th century. More often, women have adopted masculine pen names. This was common in the 19th century, when women were beginning to make inroads into literature but, it was felt, would not be taken as seriously by readers as male authors. Mary Ann Evans wrote under the pen name George Eliot
George Eliot
Mary Anne Evans , better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era...

, and Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin, Baronne Dudevant, used the pseudonym George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

. Charlotte
Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards...

, Emily
Emily Brontë
Emily Jane Brontë 30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) was an English novelist and poet, best remembered for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English literature. Emily was the third eldest of the four surviving Brontë siblings, between the youngest Anne and her brother...

 and Anne Brontë
Anne Brontë
Anne Brontë was a British novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family.The daughter of a poor Irish clergyman in the Church of England, Anne Brontë lived most of her life with her family at the parish of Haworth on the Yorkshire moors. For a couple of years she went to a...

 published under the names Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell respectively. French-Savoyard writer and poet Amélie Gex
Amélie Gex
Amélie Rose Françoise Gex, was a Savoyard writer and poet who created works in French and Franco-Provençal . Until 1880, she published most of her writings under the pen name Dian de la Jeânna.-Biography:Amélie Gex was the daughter of the physician and winemaker Marc-Samuel Gex...

 chose to publish as Dian de Jeânna ("John, son of Jane") during the first half of her career. Karen Blixen
Karen Blixen
Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke , , née Karen Christenze Dinesen, was a Danish author also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen. She also wrote under the pen names Osceola and Pierre Andrézel...

's very successful Out of Africa
Out of Africa
Out of Africa is a 1985 romantic drama film directed and produced by Sydney Pollack, and starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. The film is based loosely on the autobiographical book Out of Africa written by Isak Dinesen , which was published in 1937, with additional material from Dinesen's book...

 was originally published under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Victoria Benedictsson
Victoria Benedictsson
Victoria Benedictsson was a Swedish author. She was born as Victoria Maria Bruzelius in Domme, a village in the province of Skåne. She wrote under the pen name Ernst Ahlgren....

, one of the most famous Swedish authors of the 19th century, wrote under the name Ernst Ahlgren.

More recently, women who write in genres normally written by men sometimes choose to use initials or a neutral pen name, such as D. C. Fontana
D. C. Fontana
Dorothy Catherine "D. C." Fontana is an American television script writer and story editor, best known for her work on the original Star Trek series.-Work with Gene Roddenberry:...

, J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling
Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE , better known as J. K. Rowling, is the British author of the Harry Potter fantasy series...

, J.D. Robb
J.D. Robb
J.D. Robb was a composer of electronic and classical music....

, K. A. Applegate
K. A. Applegate
Katherine Alice Applegate is an American author, best-known as the author of the Animorphs, Remnants, Everworld and other book series, although some of the books in these series are ghostwritten by other authors. Applegate's most popular books are science fiction, fantasy, and adventure novels...

, and S. E. Hinton
S. E. Hinton
Susan Eloise Hinton is an American author best known for her young adult novel The Outsiders.While still in her teens, Hinton became a household name as the author of The Outsiders, her first and most popular novel, set in Oklahoma in the 1960s. She began writing it in 1965...

. Author Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb is the second pen name of novelist Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden who produces primarily fantasy fiction, although she has published some science fiction....

 chose that unisex pen name when she set out to write a fantasy trilogy featuring a male leading character. An example of the opposite situation is Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming
Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer.Fleming is best known for creating the fictional British spy James Bond and for a series of twelve novels and nine short stories about the character, one of the biggest-selling series of fictional books of...

's experimental James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 novel The Spy Who Loved Me, which is written in the first person from the perspective of the female protagonist, Vivienne Michel
Vivienne Michel
Vivienne "Viv" Michel is the main fictional character in Ian Fleming's James Bond novel The Spy Who Loved Me. She has not appeared as a character in a James Bond film, as Danjaq, the copyright holder to the characters, elements, and other material related to James Bond on screen agreed never to use...

, and purports to be written by her and merely presented by Fleming who 'found' the manuscript. Even at the time of publication the reality of the situation was clear, however.

Collective names

Some series fiction is published under one pen name even though more than one author may have contributed to the series. In some cases the first books in the series were written by one writer, but subsequent books were written by ghost writers. For instance, many of the later books in The Saint
Simon Templar
Simon Templar is a British fictional character known as The Saint featured in a long-running series of books by Leslie Charteris published between 1928 and 1963. After that date, other authors collaborated with Charteris on books until 1983; two additional works produced without Charteris’s...

 adventure series were not written by Leslie Charteris
Leslie Charteris
Leslie Charteris , born Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin, was a half-Chinese, half English author of primarily mystery fiction, as well as a screenwriter. He was best known for his many books chronicling the adventures of Simon Templar, alias "The Saint."-Early life:Charteris was born to a Chinese father...

, the originator of the series. Similarly, Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew is a fictional young amateur detective in various mystery series for all ages. She was created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book packaging firm. The character first appeared in 1930. The books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published...

 mystery books are published as though they were written by Carolyn Keene
Carolyn Keene
Carolyn Keene is the pseudonym of the authors of the Nancy Drew mystery stories and The Dana Girls mystery stories, both produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate...

, The Hardy Boys
The Hardy Boys
The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe Hardy, are fictional teenage brothers and amateur detectives who appear in various mystery series for children and teens....

 books are published as the work of Franklin W. Dixon
Franklin W. Dixon
Franklin W. Dixon is the pen name used by a variety of different authors who wrote The Hardy Boys novels for the Stratemeyer Syndicate...

, and The Bobbsey Twins series are credited to Laura Lee Hope
Laura Lee Hope
Laura Lee Hope is a pseudonym used by the Stratemeyer Syndicate for the Bobbsey Twins and several other series of children's novels. Actual writers taking up the pen of Laura Lee Hope include Edward Stratemeyer, Howard and Lilian Garis, Elizabeth Ward, Harriet Adams, Andrew E. Svenson, June M...

, although several authors have been involved in each series.

Collaborative authors may have their works published under a single pen name. Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee published their mystery novels and stories under the pen name Ellery Queen
Ellery Queen
Ellery Queen is both a fictional character and a pseudonym used by two American cousins from Brooklyn, New York: Daniel Nathan, alias Frederic Dannay and Manford Lepofsky, alias Manfred Bennington Lee , to write, edit, and anthologize detective fiction.The fictional Ellery Queen created by...

 (as well as publishing the work of ghost-writers under the same name). Cherith Baldry
Cherith Baldry
Cherith Baldry is a writer of fantasy fiction. She grew up on a farm and worked with house cats. For a while, she took up the job of teaching, but gave up in order to become a full time writer. She currently lives in Reigate, England. Baldry collaborates with Kate Cary, Tui T...

, Kate Cary
Kate Cary
Kate Cary is one of the authors of the Warriors novel series, a story about wild cats, which she writes under the pen name of Erin Hunter. The other authors who also write the Warriors novel series under the pen name Erin Hunter are Cherith Baldry, Victoria Holmes, and Tui T. Sutherland...

, and Victoria Holmes
Victoria Holmes
Victoria "Vicky" Holmes comes up with the ideas for the New York Times Bestselling Warriors books, consisting of four miniseries: Warriors, Warriors: The New Prophecy, Warriors: Power of Three, and Warriors: Omen of the Stars, written by Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and new addition Tui Sutherland...

 wrote the Warriors series under the pseudonym of Erin Hunter
Erin Hunter
Erin Hunter is a pseudonym used by the authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland, along with editor Victoria Holmes. Under this pen name, they have written two series of books. They are best known for the Warriors series, but the authors have also created another similar series called...

 to keep their readers from searching all over the library for their books. The writers of Atlanta Nights
Atlanta Nights
Atlanta Nights is a collaborative novel created in 2004 by a group of science fiction and fantasy authors, with the express purpose of producing a bad piece of work of unpublishable quality to test whether publishing firm PublishAmerica would still accept it...

, a deliberately bad book intended to embarrass the publishing firm PublishAmerica
PublishAmerica is a Maryland-based print-on-demand book publisher founded in 1999 by Lawrence Alvin "Larry" Clopper III and Willem Meiners ....

, used the pen name Travis Tea. Sometimes multiple authors will write related books under the same pseudonym; examples include T. H. Lain
T. H. Lain
T. H. Lain was a collective pseudonym used by nine separate authors writing under Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons & Dragons novels imprint....

 in fiction.

Nicolas Bourbaki
Nicolas Bourbaki
Nicolas Bourbaki is the collective pseudonym under which a group of 20th-century mathematicians wrote a series of books presenting an exposition of modern advanced mathematics, beginning in 1935. With the goal of founding all of mathematics on set theory, the group strove for rigour and generality...

 is the collective pseudonym under which a group of (mainly French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

) 20th-century mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

s wrote a series of books presenting an exposition of modern advanced mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, beginning in 1935. With the goal of founding all of mathematics on set theory
Set theory
Set theory is the branch of mathematics that studies sets, which are collections of objects. Although any type of object can be collected into a set, set theory is applied most often to objects that are relevant to mathematics...

, the group strove for utmost rigour
Rigour or rigor has a number of meanings in relation to intellectual life and discourse. These are separate from public and political applications with their suggestion of laws enforced to the letter, or political absolutism...

 and generality, creating some new terminology and concepts along the way.

In 2007 three Slovenian artists legally changed their names to Janez Janša
Janez Janša
Janez Janša is a Slovenian politician who was Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2004 to November 2008. He has also been President of the Slovenian Democratic Party since 1993...

, the Slovenia’s economic-liberal, conservative prime minister at the time. When publicly asked whether this gesture was of an affirmative or subversive nature, they claimed they did it for "personal reasons". Most of their works, including art exhibitions, theatrical pieces, and publications, have since been signed under this name.

Concealment of identity

A pseudonym may be used to protect the writer for exposé books about espionage or crime. Former SAS soldier Andy McNab
Andy McNab
Sergeant ‘Andy McNab’ DCM MM is the pseudonym of an English novelist and former SAS operative and soldier.McNab came into public prominence in 1993, when he published his account of the failed Special Air Service patrol, Bravo Two Zero for which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in...

 used a pseudonym for his book about a failed SAS
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 mission titled Bravo Two Zero
Bravo Two Zero
Bravo Two Zero was the call sign of an eight-man British Army SAS patrol, deployed into Iraq during the First Gulf War in January 1991. According to one patrol member's account, the patrol were given the task of "gathering intelligence;.....

. The name Ibn Warraq
Ibn Warraq
Ibn Warraq is the pen name of a polemical author of Pakistani origin who is critical of Islam, and who founded the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society . He is a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry focusing on Qur'anic criticism...

 has been used by dissident Muslim authors. Author Brian O'Nolan used the pen names Flann O'Brien and Myles na gCopaleen for his novels and journalistic writing from the 1940s to the 1960s because Irish civil servants were not allowed at that time to publish works under their own names. The identity of the enigmatic twentieth century novelist B. Traven
B. Traven
B. Traven was the pen name of a German novelist, whose real name, nationality, date and place of birth and details of biography are all subject to dispute. A rare certainty is that B...

 has never been conclusively revealed, in spite of thorough research.

The Histoire d'O
Story of O
Story of O is an erotic novel published in 1954 about love, dominance and submission by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage.Desclos did not reveal herself as the author for forty years after the initial publication...

 (The Story of O), an erotic novel of sadomasochism and sexual slavery
Sexual slavery
Sexual slavery is when unwilling people are coerced into slavery for sexual exploitation. The incidence of sexual slavery by country has been studied and tabulated by UNESCO, with the cooperation of various international agencies...

, was written by an editorial secretary with a reputation of near-prudery who used the pseudonym Pauline Réage
Pauline Réage
Anne Desclos was a French journalist and novelist who wrote under the pseudonyms Dominique Aury and Pauline Réage.-Early life:...


Alice Bradley Sheldon had a multiplicity of reasons to write under the pen name of James Tiptree, Jr.: she was a woman writing in the heavily male-dominated genre of science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

; she was a bisexual woman who may have wanted to avoid the inherent biases of her readers; and she was a career intelligence officer, first in the Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

 and then in the early years of the CIA, for whom concealment was a way of life.

Persian and Urdu poetry

Note: List of Urdu language poets provides pen names for a range of Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...


A shâ'er (a poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

 who writes she'rs in Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 or Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

) almost always has a takhallus, a pen name, traditionally placed at the end of the name (often marked by a peculiar graphical sign placed above it) when referring to the poet by his full name. For example Hafez is a pen-name for Shams al-Din, and thus the usual way to refer to him would be Shams al-Din Hafez or just Hafez. Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan (his official name and title) is referred to as Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib
Dabir-ul-Mulk, Najm-ud-Daula Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan , pen-name Ghalib and Asad , was a classical Urdu and Persian poet from India during British colonial rule...

, or just Mirza Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib
Dabir-ul-Mulk, Najm-ud-Daula Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan , pen-name Ghalib and Asad , was a classical Urdu and Persian poet from India during British colonial rule...

. Allama Muhammad Yousuf Gabriel is also a poet of urdu and persian . His books soze gabriel, naghma gabriel ashob, naala gabriel, khawbe gabriel have been published. His persian poetry will come soon as raze khalil


In Indian Languages, writers put it at the end of their names, like Ramdhari Singh
Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar'
Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar was an Indian Hindi poet, essayist and academic, who is considered as one of the most important modern Hindi poets. He remerged as a poet of rebellion as a consequence of his nationalist poetry written in the days before Indian independence...

 'Dinkar'. Sometimes they also write under their pen name without their actual name like Firaq Gorakhpuri
Firaq Gorakhpuri
Raghupati Sahay , better known under his pen name Firaq Gorakhpuri , was a writer, critic, and one of the most noted contemporary Urdu poets from India...


In early Indian literature, we find authors shying away from using any name considering it to be egotistical. Due to this notion, even today it is hard to trace the authorship of many earlier literary works from India. Later, we find that the writers adopted the practice of using the name of their deity of worship or Guru's name as their pen name. In this case, typically the pen name would be included at the end of the prose or poetry.

Composers of Indian classical music used pen names in compositions to assert authorship, including Sadarang
Sadarang was the pen name of the Hindustani musical composer and artist Niyamat Khan. Sadarang was active in the eighteenth century. He and his nephew Adarang changed the Khayal style of Hindustani music into the form performed today. He served in the court of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah...

, Gunarang (Faiyaz Khan
Faiyaz Khan
Ustad Faiyaz Khan is so far the best known exponent of Agra Gharana in Hindustani classical music. He was the master khayal vocalist of his time. Born at Sikandara near Agra in 1886 , he was the son of Shabr Hussain, who died three months before his birth...

), and Ramrang (Ramashreya Jha
Ramashreya jha
Ramashreya Jha was a distinguished composer, musician, scholar and teacher of Hindustani Classical music. He was the Head of the Department of Music in Allahabad University from 1980 to 1989. He was known for his deep knowledge, creative genius and his gifts as a teacher...

). Other compositions are apocryphally ascribed to composers with their pen names.


Japanese poets who write haiku
' , plural haiku, is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:* The essence of haiku is "cutting"...

 often use a haigō (俳号) or pen name. The famous haiku poet Matsuo Bashō
Matsuo Basho
, born , then , was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku...

 had used two other haigō before he became fond of a banana plant (bashō) that had been given to him by a disciple and started using it as his pen name at the age of 36.

Similar to a pen name, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese artist
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only...

s usually have a gō or art-name
An art-name is a pseudonym, or penname, used by an East Asian artist, which they sometimes change. The word and the idea to use a pseudonym originated from China, then became popular in other East Asian countries ....

, which might change a number of times during their career. In some cases, artists adopted different gō at different stages of their career, usually to mark significant changes in their life. One of the most extreme examples of this is Hokusai
was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. He was influenced by such painters as Sesshu, and other styles of Chinese painting...

, who in the period 1798 to 1806 alone used no fewer than six. Manga artist
is the Japanese word for a comic artist or cartoonist. Outside of Japan, manga usually refers to a Japanese comic book and mangaka refers to the author of the manga, who is usually Japanese...

 Ogure Ito uses the pen name 'Oh! great
Oh! great
Oh! great, whose real name is , is a Japanese manga artist most recognized for the manga series Tenjho Tenge and Air Gear. In 2006, he received the Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen for Air Gear. Oh! great also created the adult series Silky Whip...

' because his real name Ogure Ito is roughly how the Japanese pronounce "oh great".


Despite the use of French words in the phrase nom de plume, the term did not originate in France. H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler, in The King's English
The King's English
The King's English is a book on English usage and grammar. It was written by the Fowler brothers, Henry Watson Fowler and Francis George Fowler, and published in 1906, and thus pre-dates by 20 years Modern English Usage, which was written by Henry alone after Francis's death in 1918.The King's...

 state that the term nom de plume "evolved" in Britain, where people wanting a "literary" phrase, failed to understand the term nom de guerre, which already existed in French. Since guerre means war in French, nom de guerre did not make sense to the British, who did not understand the French metaphor. The term was later exported to France (H. W. Fowler's Modern English Usage). See French-language expression, although amongst French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 speakers pseudonyme is much more common.

See also

  • Art-name
    An art-name is a pseudonym, or penname, used by an East Asian artist, which they sometimes change. The word and the idea to use a pseudonym originated from China, then became popular in other East Asian countries ....

  • Chinese courtesy name
  • Ghostwriter
    A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written...

  • List of pen names
  • List of pseudonyms
  • Nom de guerre
  • Pseudepigraphy
    Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded; a work, simply, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past." The word "pseudepigrapha" is the plural of "pseudepigraphon" ; the Anglicized forms...

  • Ring name
    Ring name
    A ring name is a stage name used by a professional wrestler, martial artist, or boxer. While some ring names may have a fictitious first name and surname, others may simply be a nickname, such as The Undertaker.-Wrestling:...

     - the equivalent concept among professional wrestlers.
  • Stage name
    Stage name
    A stage name, also called a showbiz name or screen name, is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, wrestlers, comedians, and musicians.-Motivation to use a stage name:...

    - the equivalent concept among performers.

External links

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