Skip to main content

Twenty-Four Classic Female Authors Are Finally Getting Published Under Their Real Names

George Eliot (1819-1880), aged 30, by the Swiss artist Alexandre-Louis-François d'Albert-Durade (1804-1886), whose family she lived with while in Switzerland.

To celebrate the Women’s Prize for Fiction’s 25th anniversary, the Reclaim Her Name project is rereleasing a collection of books, publishing the titles with their author’s real name on the cover for the first time.

Recommended Videos

Among these historic works will be Middlemarch, published under George Eliot’s real name, Mary Ann Evans; The Life of Martin R Delaney, originally under the pseudonym Frank A Rollin, now under Frances Rollin Whipper; and Marie of the Cabin Club by Ann Petry, who wrote as Arnold Petri. Additionally, the collection will include some lesser-known works like Keynotes, a collection of feminist short stories from 1893, written by Mary Bright, under the name George Egerton.

“This was about looking back to the women in whose footsteps we walk – the way that other women did get their work into print or couldn’t get their work into print. It’s just such a joyous idea,” said the novelist Kate Mosse, who founded the Women’s Prize 25 years ago.

It is an incredible reminder of the strides that women took to be heard in society and the work they have managed to accomplish since. Even Joanne Rowling decided to use her initials in order to sound more unisex to get Harry Potter published, and that was in the ’90s. History is filled with women who, despite sexism, did their best to follow their dreams and provide for themselves. They also wanted to be judged as writers and not just “women’s authors.”

The Reclaim Her Name collection will be available to download as ebooks for free, which is the best part because it helps to make these titles accessible for a wide range of people. Now you can just add this edition to your collection with no fuss.

“When I was asked if my mother’s work could be included within such a worthy collection of books along with other impressive female writers, I was honoured,” said Petry’s daughter, Liz Petry, to The Guardian. “I’m incredibly proud of my mother’s work and it excites me that her writing has been introduced to a new audience through this collection. I know she would be thrilled to be a part of this as it’s an incredible conversation starter for such an important cause – my mother always believed in a world with shared humanity and I think this project encapsulates that.”

This is a super exciting project, so if any of these 24 titles have been on your to-read lists, this would be a great version of the work to pick up. Plus, it’s a fun conversation starter for literary nerd trivia—when we are allowed to do that again. I for one look forward to owning their version of The Head of Medusa by Julia Constance Fletcher, a.k.a. George Flemming. It looks stunning.

(via The Guardian, image: Alexandre-Louis-François d’Albert-Durade)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: