Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Writers and Readers

Brooke Magnanti reveals the mixed and mischievous reasons authors have hidden their names - and how their audiences responded.

A history of anonymity and why writers have sought it, as told by Brooke Magnanti, the real voice behind one of the 21st century's most famous anonymous texts, Belle de Jour's Diary of a London Call Girl. Brooke explores motivations for remaining masked and the lengths the anonymous have gone to in order to remain unnamed. She draws on her own experiences to reveal how the concept of anonymity has changed - and how both writers and readers have dealt with it. From life or death to trivial and bitchy, juggling open disclosure with the withholding of vital information, Brooke shows us that whilst we may not know their names, the anonymous have long shaped our worldview.

Today, Brooke reveals the varied, complex and often mischievous reasons for which authors have hidden their names. Reflecting on today's hunger for details of writers' interior lives, and readers' demands for authentic voices, she asks what impact audiences have had on unnamed writers, and wonders whether we are less accepting of anonymity than our book-loving forebears.

15 minutes