A pen name or nom de plume is a pseudonym adopted by an author.
Nom de plume is an English-language expression, a translation of pen name. The French term is nom de guerre, or "war name". Allonym is another synonym for pseudonym.
Some authors take on pen names to conceal their identity: for example the Brontes, who felt they would either not be published at all, or not taken seriously as women authors. Others to segregate different types of work: Lewis Carroll because as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson he wrote mathematics papers; Agatha Christie wrote romantic novels as Mary Westmacott. Pseudonyms are not always secret: Stendahl's real name was known: at least one critic disparaged his pen name as an affectation.
Pen names of famous authors include:
- Guillaume Apollinaire (Guillaume Albert Vladimir Apollinaire de Kostrowitzky)
- Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
- 'BB' (Denys Watkins-Pitchford)
- Beachcomber (D.B. Wyndham-Lewis and John Bingham Morton)
- Acton Bell, Currer Bell, and Ellis Bell (Anne Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte)
- Boz (Charles Dickens)
- Anthony Burgess (John Wilson)
- Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
- H.D (Hilda Doolittle), American imagist poet
- George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
- Paul Eluard (Eugène Grindel)
- Anatole France (Jacques Anatole François Thibault)
- O. Henry (William Sidney Porter)
- Murray Leinster (William Fitzgerald Jenkins)
- Molière (Jean Baptiste Poquelin)
- Gérard de Nerval (Gérard Labrunie)
- George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
- Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramée)
- Q (Arthur Quiller-Couch)
- Pauline Réage (Dominique Aury)
- Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)
- George Sand (Armandine Lucie Aurore Dupin)
- Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel), also used "Theo. LeSieg"
- Cordwainer Smith (Paul M. A. Linebarger)
- Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)
- James Tiptree, Jr (Alice Sheldon)
- Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorn Clemens, also used "Sieur Louis de Conte" for his fictional biography of Joan of Arc)
- Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet)