15 July 2013
It's been revealed that the Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, has secretly written a crime novel under a false male name. "The Cuckoo's Calling" was published in April and is about a war veteran turned private investigator.
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It was something of a literary mystery. How was Robert Galbraith, a former military policeman, able to produce such an assured debut novel?
Extract from the book:
The face was crushed and swollen, one eye reduced to a pucker, the other showing as a sliver of dull white between distended lids. When the sequinned top she wore glittered in slight changes of light, it gave a disquieting impression of movement, as though she breathed again.
And now it turns out that Robert Galbraith is actually the nom de plume of none other than JK Rowling. The secret was only discovered when Britain's Sunday Times newspaper realised that Galbraith and Rowling shared the same agent and editor. Computer analysis showed they used similar phrases and styles.
It was also not the first time Rowling had hidden her gender, having chosen to be called JK rather than Joanne when she was first published.
Rowling confessed. In mitigation, she said she wanted to know how her book would be received without her name and that she had found it a liberating experience.
The book had sold fifteen hundred copies before Sunday, and now the mystery has been solved it is number one in the Amazon best seller list.
Click here to hear the vocabulary
- a literary mystery
something strange or unexplained about a book or someone who writes books
strong or confident
first performance or presentation
- it turns out
it has been discovered
- nom de plume
French phrase to mean: false name given by a writer
sex; male or female
admitted to doing something
giving reasons why something you have done is not so bad
a feeling of freedom