Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Too Old to Be a Debut Writer?

Last week I wrote the post, Too Old to Write a Book?

Older Debut Authors

Lady Justice image courtesy of Carlos Sillero ~

Here’s just a bit of what it said:

“…my Best Friend published her first novel at 50 and I, in spite of a life-long love of words didn’t get busy writing seriously till my mid-50s.”

“‘Age-based awards are outdated and discriminatory, even if unintentionally so. Emerging writers are emerging writers.’”

“Do you think youth has some special ingredient that helps writers but disappears as one ages?”

So, the other day, I discovered an article on Publishing Perspectives called, UK Group to Fight Bias Against Older Debut Authors.

The article’s written by Dennis Abrams, author of more than 30 YA biographies and histories.

Dennis says:

“When did forty become the cut-off age for discussing ‘promising’ debut authors?”

Then, he discloses that there’s “…a new writers group: the Prime Writers: ‘a group of about 50 authors who were over 40 when their debut novel was published. The group spans many genres, publishers and locations; some of us have agents, others don’t; what links us is that many journalists, event organizers and book prize administrators think we’re getting on a bit.’”

The quote within that last quote is from the 48-year-old author Claire Fuller.

Here’s a bit from the Prime Writers blog:

“Whether you’re looking for your next read, assembling a panel for an event, or simply seeking inspiration for your own aspirations, The Prime Writers is your gateway to a wealth of talent and expertise.  Browse the list of writers, discover the many ways of working with us, or keep up with news from a favourite writer.  We want to hear from you too, through the comments function on the site and email”

Later in Dennis’ article, Claire says:

““It’s not only event organizers we want to re-educate – it’s also the many older writers who think their time has passed. If they read some of the Prime Writers’ tweets, our public Facebook messages or our website; if they can see a photograph of a debut author who is over 40, wrinkles and all, and feel inspired to keep going, then I’ll be happy with what we’ve done.”

It seems appropriate to replicate some of the other questions I asked last week:

“Do you know ’emerging’ writers over 40?”

“Over 50?”


“Are the experiences garnered in five or six decades more valuable than the ones plucked in the spring of life?”

“Is it somehow ‘wrong’ to take the whole of middle-age to finish writing a book?”

“Does our literate culture over-value youth?”

Care to share what you think or feel in the Comments?
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10 responses to “Too Old to Be a Debut Writer?

  1. philipparees July 17, 2015 at 11:01 am

    What about 70+? Do I win the ’emerging writers’ award? I emerged when I was 29 but had to go back to the burrow until three years ago!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alexander M Zoltai July 17, 2015 at 11:51 am

      You hereby win my personal “Emerging Writers’ Award”, Philippa. :-)


  2. philipparees July 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you Alexander! Not yet sure the hind legs and tail are clear!


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Sorry, Philippa, I’ve missed your meaning?


      • philipparees July 18, 2015 at 5:32 am

        Emerging from the burrow? Not yet standing!


        • Alexander M Zoltai July 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

          Ah… So…


  3. Nicole July 17, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Shame on anyone who assumes negative things about people based on their age. I guess if we assume negative or disparaging things, we can assume positive ones too?
    Let’s see.
    I would think an advanced age would be a major benefit.
    A) Hopefully, you’re able to retire or at least slow down as you move forward in life, so there’s (maybe I’m reaching) more time for writing.
    B) You’ve lived more! (Just an assumption) You know more! (Again an assumption) And maybe because of those two things (assuming they apply), you have a better sense of Self and are (as a result?) more confident in who you are and what you want to say. hehe
    I’m just guessing here, of course. But where I come from, people take you more seriously when you’re older because of those things. And that makes sense to me because I know a lot of young people with their acts together, but I also know a lot who are all aboard the hot mess express, and although that might be entertaining sometimes to watch, I’m not sure anyone *really* wants to read their thoughts. Or maybe they do. I don’t know.
    I think we have a theme here–I don’t know. hehe
    I *do* know I don’t consider the author’s age before I pick up the book. I don’t think about their age or gender or what they look like or anything, actually. I mostly just let the book love me or hate me.
    Plus, there are things lots of people lose as they age, but not everyone does, just like there’s a lot some people gain as they age, but not everyone does.
    Also, I think if a book is REALLY good, no matter what genre, you forget anyone wrote it at all. You get lost in that world for a bit and fall in love with the places or people or become so interested, they are pretty much real to you. Then if you look up the writer, you just want more insight…or whatever. =)
    Great post!


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 17, 2015 at 8:16 pm


      You say, “I guess if we assume negative or disparaging things, we can assume positive ones too?”, yet far too many folks can’t even imagine that option :-(

      A) I think you are right…

      B) Fairly good assumptions even with the common exceptions…

      “all aboard the hot mess express”—Whoot!!—what a wonderful expression :-)

      “I mostly just let the book love me or hate me.”—such a sage and appropriate comment, Nicole…

      “I think if a book is REALLY good, no matter what genre, you forget anyone wrote it at all.”—yes, and I can only add, The book becomes something you’re writing in your mind………


  4. D.G.Kaye July 23, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    There is no age limit for anyone to write. Heck, look at Harper Lee?


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 23, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Exactly, D. G….

      Liked by 1 person

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