“Christine Strathern imbues this romantic story with all her own abiding love for her native Scotland”  

The Scottish author Nancy Brysson Morrison (1903-1986) is chiefly remembered today for her novel ‘The Gowk Storm’ a story about three daughters of a Scottish church minister. First published in 1933, the book was reissued as part of the Canongate Classics series in 1988. Morrison’s first two books were published by John Murray and the […]

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“Out of obscurity I came – to obscurity I can easily return”: Charlotte Brontë, Currer Bell and Jane Eyre

The use of pseudonyms by the Brontë sisters is perhaps one of the best known examples of the use of pen names in English literature. This post focusses on Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), whose novel ‘Jane Eyre’ was published 175 years ago in October 1847. It was Charlotte who persuaded her sisters to submit their writing […]

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Eric Blair becomes George Orwell

When we were deciding who to include in the National Library of Scotland’s current exhibition ‘Pen names’ we had to be selective. Many authors have used pen names in the United Kingdom in the period covered by the exhibition, 1800 to the present day, but we could only include forty. We decided on criteria for […]

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A potted history of pen names

A pen name is a literary alias: a variation of a writer’s birth or married name or a completely invented pseudonym. The Library’s exhibition ‘Pen Names’ takes a thematic approach to the subject, looking at how factors such as privacy, gender, reputation, authenticity, and genre have influenced writers’ decision to use a pen name from […]

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