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Writers Who Started Late In Life


It’s never too late to start writing. Some famous examples to prove the point are Mary Wesly (The Camomile Lawn), Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) and Charles Bukowski (Post Office).

Mary Wesley wrote her first novel at the age of 70 and went on to sell three million copies of her books including 10 best sellers.

Frank McCourt only started to write when he retired from teaching. His first book, Angela’s Ashes, was published when he was 66.

And, the whippersnapper of this group, Charles Bukowski, left the post office at the tender age of 49 to become a ‘starving writer’. Within four weeks of leaving he had written his first novel, Post Office. He went on to publish six novels along with thousands of poems and hundreds of short stories. He didn’t starve for very long!

But that’s not all, if you take a quick scoot around the internet you’ll find thousands of not-so-famous older folk merrily tapping away at keyboards sharing their lives, wisdom and woes on blogs, in articles and on websites.

Recently The Writers Bureau, the UK's largest writing college, found that 11% of their students are of retirement age. But they also discovered that this age group has a better than average chance of finding success as writers.

In their annual Writer of the Year Award for their students, 26% of Award winners and runners up in the last three years are retired. This shows that older people are punching above their weight when it comes to finding success.

Next to Writers Who Started Late in Life Part Two



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Theresa Gooda Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2021

“I began my first Writers Bureau course (Comprehensive Creative Writing) in 2007. Having more than covered the course fees from published pieces I have never looked back. Initially my ambitions were to get going. I knew I wanted to be a writer, I just didn’t know how to go about it, or, if I’m honest, quite what I wanted to write. Since, I have gradually blended a teaching career with writing, first with articles and short stories, then increasing the writing commitment dramatically when I secured an agent in 2016 to ghostwrite a series of memoirs. This year I have undertaken The Art of Writing Poetry course to really hone my skills in what I now realise is a genre I love - and have already had my first poems published.”

Theresa Gooda - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2021

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