Software, Hardware, Silverware

The Science that Uncovered J.K. Rowling’s Literary Hocus Pocus

Ben Zimmer for Speakeasy:

In pursuing the Rowling bombshell, freelance writer Cal Flyn, who worked with Times arts editor Richard Brooks on the story, contacted two academics who have developed software specifically to examine questions of authorship: Peter Millican, who teaches philosophy and computing at Oxford University, and Patrick Juola, a computer science professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Flyn provided them with machine-readable texts of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” along with Rowling’s previous novel, “The Casual Vacancy,” and novels by three British women who specialize in crime fiction: Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, and Val McDermid.

Their software, which uses “forensic stylometry”, led The Sunday Times to question Ms. Rowling about it which led to her confession.

Forensic stylometry. You win, internet.