It's never too late!

7 Accomplished Writers Who Got a Late Start

Article by Maria Orlandi

Oftentimes we feel as if it’s too late to start – too late to reach out to an old friend, too late to pick up that old hobby, or too late to start something new. But our ability to create does not lessen as we grow older, if anything our capacity for wisdom only grows and we find that we have so much more to share with the world than we previously knew. If you’ve ever hesitated about pursuing writing, or you’ve taken it up and given up again and again, look to these writers for inspiration. Here are seven authors who prove that late-bloomers are the best part about spring.

Anthony Burgess

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Most famous book: A Clockwork Orange

Although Burgess published other works before A Clockwork Orange, it was this novel that truly set him onto the literary scene at the age of 45. Masterpieces don’t always have to be the work of the young. 


Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Most famous book: Little House on the Prairie series

Born in 1867, not only did Wilder not begin writing until 1911, but she didn’t publish her well-known Little House books until she was 65! Prompted by her family members who saw her talent and by the financial difficulties of the Great Depression, Wilder didn’t discover her true potential until much later in her life.


Charles Bukowski

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Most famous book: Post Office

Find comfort in Bukowski – after becoming frustrated with the literary world he quit writing for ten years, only dedicating himself to writing full time at the age of 49 after a lifetime of wandering.


Tillie Olson

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Most famous book: Yonnondio: From the Thirties

After dropping out of school at 15, raising four children, and being imprisoned for “loud and unusual noise”, Tillie Olson still managed to become an influential published author at the age of 49. Olson’s life and work brought light to the juggling act of being both a mother and a professional. Her literature is a testament to her determination to succeed in both realms.


Bram Stoker

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Most famous book: Dracula

Dracula has become a ubiquitous work – there are countless films, plays, and artworks, which revolve around Stoker’s titular character. His iconic work was published at the age of 50 and has cemented his name in history forever.

Sue Monk Kidd

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Most famous book: The Secret Life of Bees

Kidd published her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, at the age of 54. The novel became a film and a play and has touched readers everywhere for her portrayal of familial disputes and race relations during the Civil Rights Movement.


Richard Adams

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Most famous book: Watership Down

Adams published his best-selling children’s book at the age of 52. Adams never saw himself as an author, saying “I was 52 when I discovered I could write. I wish I’d known a bit earlier. I never thought of myself as a writer until I became one.”

If you still can’t see yourself as a writer, simply take Adam’s advice. You won’t be a writer until you become one.



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