Author Kazuo Ishiguro, suggests many novelists peak in their youth and once said: “There’s something very misleading about the literary culture that looks at writers in their 30s and calls them ‘budding’ or ‘promising,’ when in fact they’re peaking.”
Contrarily, a recent study from Blinkbox revealed that most authors do in fact get their big break in middle-age and, with 12 per cent of us harbouring plans to write a book in retirement, some argue that perhaps we should be spending more time celebrating, nurturing, and encouraging older talents.
“Writing is obviously a solitary exercise,” says Tim Finch, who was 51 when his debut novel, The House of Journalists, was published. “If it’s something you turn to in middle age, you often don’t have many or any contacts in the literary world.”
Finch, along with around 60 other novelists, is a member of The Prime Writers – a network of men and women whose debut novels were published when they were over the age of 40. One of the few networks of its kind, The Prime Writers’ catalogue ranges from memoirs to historical fiction, using a “vast reservoir of life experience” to inform their writing. The group aims to inspire other writers, and spur “people in their ‘prime’ to realise it is certainly not too late to write that novel and get it published.”