It's no secret Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, and George Eliot was actually a woman named Mary Anne Evans. But you may not realize that Ayn Rand, Pablo Neruda and George Orwell are also noms de plume.
For centuries women have written under male names or initials in order to be taken seriously, and some authors with mouthful names (such as Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, better known as Joseph Conrad) have good reason to publish under something more compact and memorable. Writers have also adopted new names after committing felonies, having an affair or excoriating theirs mothers, as Carmela Ciuraru, author of Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms, points out. Here are some famous pen names that you may have taken as real names: