Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has pulled off some literary magic after earning critical acclaim with a detective novel she published under a pseudonym.
This past April, The Cuckoo's Calling, a tale about war veteran who becomes a private investigator, garnered rave reviews when it was published by Sphere, part of publisher Little, Brown & Co. The novel was credited to Robert Galbraith, described as an ex-military member trying his hand at writing fiction.
It must have been extremely difficult for one of the world's most popular authors to retain her secret identity, but Rowling and Little, Brown & Co., who published her first novel for adults The Casual Vacancy last year, managed to keep it under wraps. Rowling chose to confirm the truth this past weekend.
"I hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience," she 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."
Indeed, The Sunday Times may have been close to uncovering the truth, as it recently said it was looking into how a supposedly first-time author who spent a lifetime in the army "could write such an assured debut novel." The paper was suspicious by the fact that Rowling and Galbraith had the same editor and agent, that the book was also published by Little, Brown & Co., and that The Cuckoo's Calling resembled Rowling's writing style.
Others in the literary industry praised the book "as a scintillating debut novel" and tipped their cap to Galbraith for his "superb flair as a mystery writer."
Crime novelist Duane Swierczynski said he admired Rowling for choosing to publish in disguise.
"I read the novel, loved it, and wrote an enthusiastic blurb in early January," he said. "Galbraith sounded like someone I'd love to have a beer with. This is still the case, mind you."
Since the cat was let out of the bag over the weekend, The Cuckoo's Calling has shot up Amazon's bestseller list and British bookstores say they're having trouble keeping up with the demand.
Rowling said she would continue writing the series started by "Galbraith," although now that we know the true identity of the author, the publisher will reprint future copies of the book with a revised biography.
-with files from The Associated Press
Rowling has followed in the footsteps of several popular writers who adopted pseudonyms to write different kinds of books. Check out our list below!
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