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  • Writer's pictureSharon Michalove

Am I Too Old?

You just wrote your first novel? And you're how old? How old is too old?

Young authors are celebrated as precocious. Older authors are just...old. As a new novelist, with my first novel making its debut on my seventieth birthday, let's celebrate older authors.

Jacqueline Park wrote her first novel, The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi, was published when she was 72 and was an international bestseller. She subsequently published two sequels, although she died at 93 before the third book was complete. Her friend and collaborator, Gilbert Red, finished the book.

My friend, Lis Angus, is a suspense writer who is a few years older than me. Her debut novel, Not Your Child, comes out next year from The Wild Rose Press, Lis and I first met online in a critique group and read early versions of each other's work. I can't wait to read the published version of her novel, which was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier award for Excellence in Crime and Suspense.

Are we the exception that proves the rule? Hardly. Check out this article on Bustle for more authors who were late bloomers. The oldest, Lorna Page, was 93 when her novel, A Dangerous Weakness, debuted 2008. She went on to publish a volume of short stories in 2009.

Barbara DeMarco Barrett's article, "11 Over 70: Writers Who Persevere," in the Authors Guild Bulletin, is a salute to older novelists.

Anne Youngson's novel, Meet Me at the Museum, was snapped up by Transworld Publishing forty-eight hours after she submitted it. She was 70.

What of the men? Frank McCourt was 66 when Angela's Ashes was published. Millard Kaufman, the creator of Mr. Magoo, was 90 when his debut novel. Bowl of Cherries, came out.

You don't have to be a whippersnapper to become a published writer. Go for it! As my friend Lis says, "There is no expiry date on writing,"


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