Sunday, January 18, 2009

McCrum Muses on Age

Old people, in general, don't have literary careers ... most writers begin to attract attention - as new young voices with something original to say.
Robert McCrum in The Observer today has some sobering things to say about authors and age, backed up with plenty of interesting examples.
Apparently, authors are most likely to produce great works in their 30's and most literary careers last no longer than ten years.
He reminds us that :
As a writer, you are always starting out afresh. Age and experience may teach you some tricks, but it will not touch your work with magic.
(Pic is of one of the exceptions to all this - 91 year-old memoirist Diana Athill, one of the finalists in the Costa Book Awards.)


Anonymous said...

He's right about that I think, but so what, you do it because you can. You're never too old to be young anyway right ? :)

Satima Flavell said...

Hmm - that's me done for, then. I think I'll follow Athill, not Crum:-)

Yusuf Martin said...

Well that's it then, my literary career is over before it started.

I've obviously got nothing new to say, and if I did have my career would only last 10 years, hardly worth bothering with really.

Isn't it difficult enough to get motivated without some fatuous fool knocking away your very thought foundations with garbage such as this.

Ageism is an up hill battle, ho hum!!

bibliobibuli said...

haha i posted this just to get you mad, Yuof!

Dienasty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli James said...

I disagree with McCrum. It's an old assumption he evokes, that genius is related to precocity, but really creative talent bears no correlation whatsoever with age. I point to Malcolm Gladwell, he of Blink and Outliers fame - he's got this superb article over at his New Yorker archive that explores just that.

Eli James said...

Oops, left out the link:

Article here

bibliobibuli said...

thanks so much Eli! that makes a great rebuttal!