Why and how I chose a pen name

Why choose a pen name? To define separate identities for my fiction and non-fiction writing. The germinating collections of memoir fragments and other non-fiction anthologies will be published in my own name.

How choose a pen name? The exercise started by combining names from recent generations on both sides of the family. I abandoned that approach when internet checks of names I liked threw up multiples for each one and a large proportion of them were listed as artists or authors. Too easy to be lost!

So then I followed my heart. The meanings of the full name I’ve chosen, Winfreda Donald, may imbue the issues of identity and the differing kinds of loss faced by the characters in the series with meaning and hope: from individual and family emphases in Past imperfect to larger canvases in Present tense and the following novels in the series.

A special note – Donald is my husband’s middle name. I am happy that my pen name honours his patience through the years when my preoccupation with writing the Long shadows series distracted me from domestic concerns, as the motley characters faced conflicts and challenges in Australia and Europe, and witnessed humanitarian tragedies in Africa in the late 1990s.

Winfreda means: holy, blessed reconciliation, joy and peace / friend of peace / peaceful / holy peacemaking.

Donald means: great chief, world-mighty / proud chief / world ruler

It is my heartfelt hope that rulers, of individual nations and collectively, grasp and convert vision and inspiration to action: to lead the efforts of majorities who hunger for peace, reconciliation and just solutions to ease inequities within and between nations. Current leaderships leave many millions unprotected. International structures exist. May the mighty leaders be infused with the will to harness the aspirations and co-operation of both the weak and the strong to end needless misery and deaths, and find ways to ameliorate other suffering through the selfless use of the resources of the earth and beyond.

And even though the name Winfreda Donald remains little known, may the energy of the meaning vibrate with positive effect through the ether.

Share this post

Scroll to Top