J.K. Rowling Unmasked as Secret Author of Crime Novel

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 14 2013 2:25 PM

J.K. Rowling Unmasked as Secret Author of Widely Praised Crime Novel

J.K. Rowling isn't the first high-profile author to use a pseudonym

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

It was a story that seemed too good to be true. A former military man tried his hand at writing and managed to publish a complex crime novel that received great reviews. The Cuckoo’s Calling was hardly a commercial success, but many expressed surprise that a new author could write such a sophisticated first novel that received comparisons to the works of crime writers like Ruth Rendell and PD James, notes the Independent. Turns out, the novel that told the tale of a war veteran turned private investigator wasn’t his first novel at all. And, in fact, the author wasn’t even a man. It was J.K. Rowling, the world-famous author of the Harry Potter series. Her secret was revealed by the Sunday Times that began investigating the book after it received an anonymous tip on Twitter, reports the New York Times.

"I hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience," Rowling said in a statement released by her publicist on Sunday. "It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name."


Rowling’s attitude doesn’t seem all that surprising considering how her widely anticipated first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, received decidedly mixed reviews after it was released last year. Demand for The Cuckoo’s Calling is now soaring and a reprint is under way that will “carry a revised author biography, which reads, ‘Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling,’” Reagan Arthur, publisher of Little, Brown, said in a statement, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.


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