Can we stop using age as a measure of talent?


There has been some debate recently regarding writing competitions which conflate emerging 'artists' with 'youth'. Literary presses seek debut authors 'of the future' - under 25 years old. Why do we associate new voices with an age limit?

'Long for This World' author Sonya Chung founded the website Bloom, which champions authors who have had their first major work published when they were aged 40 or older. "If someone is labelled a 'late bloomer,' the question Bloom poses is, 'Late.' According to whom?'" (The Telegraph, 2017)




The point is, we all develop our writing at different stages in life. If you're a novelist, you may be slaving away for several years writing and then several years gathering any interest for your manuscript at all!

If it makes you feel better...

J. R. R. Tolkien’s first novel, The Hobbit, was published when he was 45 years old. For the next ten years he worked on his trilogy, Lord of the Rings, only to encounter snags with his publisher when he had finished it. Lord of the Rings was published over the years 1954 and 1955, by which time he was 63.

If you're worrying you may be a late bloomer, maybe you just need to keep writing for another ten years.

If you're worrying that other poets are publishing 3 books this year, when you've yet to publish your first pamphlet, remember: the industry is not a race. Developing your craft is not a race.

You're never too young or old to 'emerge' as a writer. Be proud of what you've achieved so far.

#opinion #age

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