books by anonymous authors

Written by Anonymous: 9 Books with Unknown Authors

Prentice Hall

In a discussion of whether or not writers can escape their identities, New Yorker‘s Maria Bustillos explains that “writers are generally fated to commit the truest parts of themselves to the page, whether they choose to own their work in public or not. That is the ultimate vulnerability, and it is inescapable.”

Faced with this, I am undeniably interested in books written by unknown authors—here are nine.

Some of the books on this list were written by someone who chose to use a pseudonym, their real name concealed. Others were written anonymously at the time of their original publication, but have since been shed light on—others remain unknown.

A fair few of these are rather controversial, and it’s ultimately up to you as a reader to decide how much you want to let the anonymity of the author impact your experience of their stories; authors don’t owe us their identity, but as I’ve expressed before, there’s something especially interesting about a book that can extend its magic and intrigue to reality.

1. Diary of an Oxygen Thief, Anonymous

Synopsis: Hurt people hurt people. Say there was a novel in which Holden Caulfield was an alcoholic and Lolita was a photographer’s assistant and, somehow, they met in Bright Lights, Big City. He’s blinded by love. She by ambition. Diary of an Oxygen Thief is an honest, hilarious, and heartrending novel, but above all, a very realistic account of what we do to each other and what we allow to have done to us.

What we know: They live in the East Village in New York City, have given interviews, and writes anonymously because it allows them, as a writer, “to inhabit the reader more effectively.”

Prev1 of 10
Swipe or use your arrow keys to navigate

Carliann Rittman
Currently at NYU, probably feverishly reading messy memoirs about musicians.