Submitted by jbraun on

The novels written by Jane Austen strike a chord in the hearts of many readers and yet, had she been less courageous, we may never have known her work. Born on Dec, 16, 1775 in Hampshire, England, Jane wrote nine novels, but all were published anonymously during her lifetime. Her first, Sense and Sensibility, was published simply “By A Lady.” Her next book, Pride and Prejudice, was “By the Author of Sense and Sensibility” and a friend of her brother Henry remarked that it was “much too clever to be the work of a woman.”

Female writers have historically adopted male pseudonyms for fantastic and varied reasons, not the least of which was the notion that they were “too lazy” to write anything longer than a letter.  Jane Austen is only one of a number of female authors who chose to – or had to - publish their books anonymously, or adopted a male-sounding pseudonym to combat sexism and prejudice. 

From the Bronte Sisters to Carolyn Keene, and from Nora Roberts to J.K. Rowling, this year, honor Jane and her fellow writers by reading (or listening to) one of these classics written by women. 

To learn more about author Jane Austen, visit the Jane Austen Society of America website.