I was listening to Open Book on Radio 4 on Sunday and a trio of authors talking about the nom de plumes they choose. There was a man who wrote under a female name and a woman who androgynised hers with initials (as JK Rowling did, claiming she was taken more seriously because her gender was not immediately identifiable).

There is a long tradition of woman writers having to take on male pseudonyms - the Brontes, George Elliot are the most frequently cited examples. However, surely we are in a different world now? Publishers claim men are less likely to read books authored by a woman, apparently the bias does not go the other way for female readers, except in the romance genre. I think I would feel manipulated if I found I had been reading something I discovered was by a clandestine man.

Both interviewees on the radio claimed the decisions about their name had been made to suit the "brand" they were wanting to publish in. Further evidence the literary world is not all about the writing, but rather about a complete product.