The confining resonance of a writer’s name

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A writer of recognized fame in a niche, cliquey genre probably feels like Ashton Kutcher did the morning after Hollywood’s premiere of Dude Where’s My Car: happy, thankful, and proud of the job he did, yet claustrophobic in the pigeonhole of his success.

This is when the writer creates a pen name to wipe clean the slate of his or her fan base, not to rid them forever but to shield their disappointed expectations. NYT asked 8 “different” authors what genre they would write using a different pen name, and their answers are surprisingly truthful, identifiable–barely sarcastic at all. It’s an inspiring read that shows how much room for experimenting writers have when it comes to storytelling.


Tara Landers graduates in December from UC Berkeley with degrees in Media Studies and Art History. With vague plans of working for a human rights organization in the future, she currently writes content for a mobile app that makes ordering bottle service more convenient. More from this author →