An Oxford Univeristy Professor has helped expose JK Rowling’s secret identity as debut crime writer Robert Galbraith.
Hertford Professor Peter Millican, an expert in computer linguistics, uncovered the truth behind the pseudonym of crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling by developing software to analyse and compare texts.
Prof Millican was approached by the Sunday Times last Friday, after they recieved information suggesting that Galbraith was actually Rowling in disguise.
The tip off came as a member of legal firm Russell’s, Chris Gossage, divulged Rowling’s secret to her best friend, Judith Callegari. Callegari then allegedly revealed Galbraith’s true identity to a Sunday Times journalist via Twitter.
Prof Millican told the BBC, “I was given some text by The Sunday Times – I had two known texts by JK Rowling, two by Ruth Rendell, two by PD James and two by Val McDermid.
“What I did was clean up the texts, put them into my software and do a battery of tests to see what similarities there were. I was testing things like word length, sentence length, paragraph length, frequency of particular words and the pattern of punctuation.
“What was striking about the tests was how often The Cuckoo’s Calling came closest to the texts by JK Rowling and it was closer to those than to any other crime novels.”
Prof Millican similarly received public interest in 2008 when he was asked by a Republican to prove that President Barack Obama was not the actua author of his autobiography Dreams From My Father, concluding “I found it was most unlikely he did write it because there were significant differences in his use of language.”