It’s a longstanding debate – does the sex of the author matter to the potential reader? Chris Ryan obviously thinks so. The former SAS hard man has brought out his latest book (a genre busting romance) under the pseudonym Molly Jackson which is doubly confusing as his other moniker is a pen name in the first place. Still, what better way to fool all those baddies who might fancy a spot of revenge than hiding out as a female laydee authorette?

We debated this issue in the last Litopia After Dark podcast:

Suffice to say, we concluded that, sadly, Chris Ryan is in the minority and it is mostly female authors who have to hide under a pseudonym or, more commonly, a pair of initials (cf JK Rowling). It seems that boys (and we’ll include men in that sweeping statement) still prefer their books, or at least their heroes, to be written by members of the same sex. Alison Flood writing in the Guardian came to pretty much the same conclusion:

I would contend that many readers would be unable to tell which gender had written a book if the author’s name were to be removed. One of my favourite internet toys, The Gender Genie, upholds my theory that styles of writing do not conform to gender bias. Each time I try it, it firmly tells me that I am a man. And who am I to argue? You can have a go yourself here: