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Hotshot New Crime Novelist Robert Galbraith Is Actually JK Rowling Pretending To Be A Man

By / 07.14.13

(via Getty Image)


Earlier this year Sphere, a part of the Little, Brown & Co. publishing family, published The Cuckoo’s Calling, a crime novel by a first-time author named Robert Galbraith. Galbraith’s author bio says the following:

After several years with the Royal Military Police, Robert Galbraith was attached to the SIB (Special Investigative Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world.

Critics loved the book. Publisher’s Weekly wrote that it “combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime…a stellar debut.” On July 7th an Amazon reviewer named Karen wrote, “This book is so well written that I suspect that some years down the road we will hear the author’s name is a pseudonym of some famous writer.”

As it turns out, Karen was on to something: today it was revealed that Robert Galbraith is actually Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Reports the New York Times:

In one of the great publishing coups in recent years, “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” which has sold just 1,500 copies in Britain so far, turns out to have been written not by an ex-British Army officer, or by a new writer, or even by a man. Instead, its author is J. K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter novels have made her one of the world’s best-selling, and best-known, authors.

Ms. Rowling was unmasked by The Sunday Times of London, which, acting on an anonymous tip, embarked on a sleuthing mission of its own and published the result on Sunday. In the article, Ms. Rowling confessed to the ruse and spoke somewhat wistfully of her brief, happy foray into anonymous authorship.

“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said in a statement. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

How the discovery that Galbraith is actually Rowling was made is also sort of fascinating…

The story of how The Sunday Times uncovered the truth is an odd one that involves, as seems so often the case these days, Twitter. It started on Thursday, said Richard Brooks, the paper’s arts editor, after one of his colleagues happened to post a tweet mentioning that she had loved “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” and that it did not seem as if the book had been written by a novice.

“After midnight she got a tweet back from an anonymous person saying it’s not a first-time novel — it was written by J. K. Rowling,” Mr. Brooks said in an interview. “So my colleague tweeted back and said, ‘How do you know for sure?’ ”

The person replied, “I just know,” and then proceeded to delete all his (or her) tweets and to close down the Twitter account, Mr. Brooks said. “All traces of this person had been taken off, and we couldn’t find his name again.”

How much you wanna bet that someone who works at Little, Brown & Co. was the person behind the leaky tweets?


TAGSHARRY POTTERJK ROWLINGliterary mysteries

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