Does age matter for writers?

I strongly doubt that if J.K Rowling had been 60 when she wrote her Harry Potter books she would have been turned down by her publisher on account of her age.  I can’t see how age should matter for writers if a book is good. There have been more than a few successful books published that were written by people in their 50s and beyond. According to a huffingtonpost article, Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her 60s when she wrote the Little House on the Prairie books.

Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing as a columnist in her 40s. Contrary to a belief begun by the TV series about her family, the popular Little House books weren’t written when she was a young girl at all. They were written and published when the ‘girl’ was in her 60’s! (huffingtonpost)

The same Huffington post article mentions author Elizabeth Jolley who was in her fifties when her first novel was published. It’s unclear if she was 53 or 56. The age stated in the Huffington Post article is 56 but on Elizabeth Jolley’s wikipedia page it states that she was 53 when her first book was published, after receiving numerous rejection letters, and that she went on to publish fifteen novels and was releasing books well into her seventies.

Also mentioned was writer Mary Wesley. The article claims she was 71 when her first novel was published; but it’s not entirely clear from her wikipedia page if this is completely accurate. Whether or not her first novel was published when she was 71, most of her success as a writer was achieved while she was in her 70s. Most of her novels were written and published while she was in her seventies.

Does age matter for writers? No!

If someone thinks you’re too old to write and dream and strive to become a published author, or even if they think you’re too young, leave them to their opinion. They are entitled to it; but the fact is there have been children under the age of ten and men/women over the age of seventy who have become successfully published authors. It’s the story that matters.

Combat ageism

People have an attitude about age that is unfortunate for everyone in the world at large because we all age. As young as you might be right now, you will get older. Every older person was once a younger person and every younger person will one day be an older person. So it seems to me as if it could only be a good thing for people to change their attitudes about age. The truth of the matter is, life does not end after 50. Far from it, life continues on the same way as always and all too often, if you are not in a position financially to treat your later years as that time in life where you’re “finally able to relax”, life only becomes more challenging. So for the younger folks out there I can tell you this, you don’t want to live in a world where ageism is allowed to thrive. You want to live in a world where even at 60 you have opportunities and options for making the most of your life.

Image of J.K Rowling: “J. K. Rowling 2010” by Daniel Ogren – Flickr: 100405_EasterEggRoll_683. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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