19 January 1946

Julian Barnes

The eminent author Julian Barnes was born on this day in 1946. In the course of a glittering career he has won awards on both sides of the Atlantic and also in France, where he is particularly admired. In addition to the his numerous novels and short stories, Barnes also writes under two pen-names: Dan Kavanagh and Edward Pygge (the latter identity shared with Ian Hamilton and Clive James, among others).

Barnes has also been the subject of speculation concerning other people’s use of pseudonyms. In 1992, the young British writer Jon Hames published Blood on the Leaves, a roman à clef set in the London literary scene which included thinly disguised versions of writers, publishers and agents. The character ‘Jeremy Bates’ is generally assumed to be Barnes, who is a keen tennis player. (Jeremy Bates was Britain’s top seed at the time.)

A more unusual example is the American entrepreneur Wes Kramer, who operates under the name ‘Julian Barnes’. Kramer owns a roster of websites and magazines specialising in niche erotica, such as Julian Barnes’ Hirsute Harem and Julian Barnes’ Nylon Nirvana. Several of these tiles have been erroneously listed in reputable reference books as the work of the British author, resulting in some confusion.

Barnes is particularly highly regarded in France
Picture: PA

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