It’s been quite a year for pseudonymous writers whose real identities are open secrets. John Banville brought out his latest Philip Marlowe mystery novel under the pen-name, Benjamin Black, last month. Dan Kavanagh’s detective novels are to be re-published and nowhere is Julian Barnes mentioned, such is the extent of the in-joke. J K Rowling will bring out her second Robert Galbraith book this June.
Suddenly, a truly anonymous writer emerges: Claire North is an “acclaimed author who has previously published several novels” (says the dust-jacket of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August). What intrigue – or at least until a phone call to the publisher, who said that Ms North’s identity will be revealed after all as her book will be read by Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Book Club, and a fake identity on air is too tall an order. Published on 8 April, the author will stay anonymous for precisely two weeks before an announcement on 22 April. Oh well, intriguing while it lasts.