Late Bloomer - Adults - Writing


Many writers have published their first major work late in life. Mary Wesley might be a classic example. She wrote two children's books in her late fifties, but her writing career did not gain note until her first novel at 70, written after the death of her husband. Harriet Doerr published her first novel at age 74, and went on to great praise. A possibly more well known example might be Laura Ingalls Wilder. She became a columnist in her forties, but did not publish her first novel in the Little House series of children's books until her sixties.

Memoirist and novelist Flora Thompson was first published in her thirties but is most famous for the semi-autobiographical Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, the first volume of which was published when she was 63. Frank McCourt didn't publish his first book Angela's Ashes which he later won the Pulizer Prize for until he was 66. "Children's author Mary Alice Fontenot wrote her first book at 51 and wrote almost thirty additional books, publishing multiple volumes in her eighties and nineties. Kenneth Grahame was born in 1859, joined the Bank of England in 1879 and rose through the ranks to become its Secretary. Although he had written various short stories while working at the bank, it was only after his retirement in 1908 that he published his masterpiece and final work The Wind in the Willows.

Richard Adams's first novel, the bestseller Watership Down, was published when he was in his fifties. The Marquis de Sade published his first novel, Justine, after turning 51. Raymond Chandler published his first short story at 45, and his first novel, The Big Sleep at 51. Jean Rhys is best known for her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, which was published in October 1966, when she was 76.

Aron Ettore Schmitz published his first novel Senilità in his 38th year, however it was not until he published Zeno's Conscience that he made a breakthrough, aged 61. Even this was self-published.

In other areas of writing, poet Wallace Stevens started late in life after years as an insurance salesman and executive. Although he was first published at 38, his "canonical works" came out in his fifties. In philosophy Mary Midgley had her first book when she was 56. Edmond Hoyle wrote a booklet on whist in his late sixties. To avoid unauthorized copies he wrote the copyrighted A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist at age 70.

The Indian writer and polymath Nirad C. Chaudhuri wrote his autobiography The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian at the age of 54. He wrote a sequel to it Thy Hand, Great Anarch! at the age of 90. He published his next work (and his final work) Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse at the age of 100.

Read more about this topic:  Late Bloomer, Adults

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Famous quotes containing the word writing:

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    ...I don’t have an inner drive to do as well as anybody else ... I have a great pleasure in writing and part of that is political and part of that is I’m surprised that I’ve done as well as I have. I really am just surprised.
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