Six Crazy Conspiracies the Literary Establishment Doesn’t Want You To Know About

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Maddie Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Maddie Rodriguez is a freelance writer and communications specialist who earned her MA in English Literature from the University of Victoria by writing about The Age of Innocence and Gossip Girl (yes, really). When not writing, Maddie can be found reading or watching television; she has Too Many Feelings about both activities, and expresses them via expansive hand gestures or ALL CAPS (depending on how far away the conversation's other party is). Maddie and her fellow reader/writer partner live in Ottawa. They share their apartment with an ever-encroaching tower of books and two calamity-prone cats. Life is never dull. Twitter: @MaddieMuses

With all the hoopla surrounding Harper Lee’s” “new” novel Go Set A Watchman, I was gratified to hear that Truth Warriors have arisen, to shake the unquestioning, narrow-minded sheeple out of their complacency and remind them that it was not Harper Lee who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird, but Truman Capote. Like Branwell Brontë’s true authorship of Wuthering Heights, this fact is indisputable.

But while it is good to shout these truths from the rooftop, I am dismayed to learn that many other conspiracies go unchallenged. Friends, you are being conned!! I can only hope this silence results from ignorance and so I will do my part to shine a light on THE TRUTH. Once I reveal it to you, I promise everything – all your doubts and suspicions, all the so-called coincidences that always seemed a little too convenient – will make sense.

Here are the FACTS the literary Establishment doesn’t want you to know:


Fact: Cormac McCarthy actually stole all his books from ~**pinkiepiegoeswest**~ the internet’s foremost author of gender-swapped AU Bad Girls fics.


Fact: George R.R. Martin is actually the “murder-y” pen name of prolific fantasy writer J.K. Rowling. Rowling’s publicly-acknowledged pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, was only created to distract attention when a group of intrepid sub-Redditors came too close to the Truth. The bearded man everyone believes to be Martin is in fact Rowling’s eccentric seafaring uncle, affectionately known as “lil’ Cap’n.”


Fact: Many of the great modern novelists write their first drafts using a special edition novel-length 1949 Mad Libs booklet subtitled “Authenticity, Virility, and Intellect; or, My Manhood” as a guide. “My Manhood” is widely believed to be held by an alumni of the Yale Skull and Bones society in an undisclosed location.


Fact: Jonathan Franzen is actually the second pseudonym of novelist Madeleine Wickham, also known as Sophie Kinsella. Consider that all three names have five syllables. Consider that Franzen’s latest novel, Purity, has been described as “a multigenerational American epic that spans decades and continents,“ a description that sounds suspiciously similar to Kinsella’s Atlantic-crossing Shopaholic series, which includes such works as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, and Shopaholic & Baby. Consider that the similarities between Kinsella’s and Franzen’s book covers are too glaring to be ignored.



Fact: Ernest Hemingway was actually a Sphynx cat in a matador costume.


Fact: The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy is actually comprised of the recently-discovered excised erotic portions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In order to profit from the work while preserving the integrity of Tolkien’s brand, Tolkien’s estate hired little-known ghostwriter E.L. James to relocate the story to modern day Seattle. “Gandalf the” was changed to “Christian” Grey (a nod to Tolkien’s close friend C.S. Lewis) and the character’s occupation was changed from a powerful wizard to a powerful shipping magnate. Similarly, Frodo was changed to Ana and Mount Doom was renamed the Red Room of Pain. All other aspects of the work were left unaltered.



Friends, I hope your eyes have been opened!! I have given you the torch, now it is up to you to shine a light on these lies – in every comment section, every casual party conversation, and every Twitter thread!  Throw off your blinders, cleave yourself from the herd, and LET TRUTH REIGN!!