Writers love making up fake names for themselves. Why, asks The Washington Post? While authors of the past used peusdonyms to protect their families, guard against prejudice, maintain privacy, or dodge critics, contemporary authors do it as a lark. The Post‘s real question, however, seems to be why authors don’t try harder — either by making up better names or being sneakier. Regarding Richard Price’s forthcoming work as “Jay Morris”:
Price was unable to comment on the utter blandness of his pseudonym, or why he chose to reveal his identity before he even cloaked it.
However, the article is bylined “Tawny Tipples” (“Style reporter Dan Zak’s pen name,” he helpfully explains, “under which he’s written a low-selling series of novels about a blind bailiff with a seeing-eye dog who can smell guilt”), so the paper may not have the high ground here.