6 Authors who found success after 50

6 Authors who found success after 50

If there’s one thing that’s true for anyone who wants to be a writer, it’s the fact that you’re going to have to struggle if you want to make it your life’s work. There are going to be times when you can’t afford the food you eat or the place that you live in. As such, most aspiring writers give up after they hit a certain age.

There comes a time when you just have to stop following your dreams and find comfort and stability in your life. That’s why you never hear about writers in their 50s unless they’re already wildly successful in their younger years. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, though.

There are plenty of writers who didn’t see success until after they hit the age of 50. These are contemporary writers as well as classical ones.

The more you know about them, the more it becomes obvious that you never have to stop following your passions. In fact, your writing will only improve with age as you hone your skills and find out what people tend to respond to the most. Here’s a list of 6 authors who didn’t find success until they hit 50.

Charles Bukowski

First up on the list is Charles Bukowski. He wrote plenty of short stories and articles throughout his life, but he never really found success until he hit the age of 51.

That was when he published his novel Post Office. It was his real world experience working in one that helped him to write it and he never would have been able to do it without the struggle that led to him taking the job. Sometimes you just have to suffer in order to make something that other people can appreciate.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Next up is the author of the Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Most people would be shocked to realize that she published the first book of that series when she was 65 years old.

She wouldn’t publish the last one until the age of 76. While she was a columnist and editor in her 40s, she only took the job to help her family with finances. Her books are now required reading all over the world and no one can ignore the impact that they’ve had, even after releasing at such an advanced age.

Richard Adams

Richard Adams is a little bit different from most people on this list in that he never had any ideas of authorship. He wrote Watership Down in 1972 and it only started off as a story that he would tell to his children.

It was at their behest that he published it and he would go on to win the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He would go on to publish over 20 books and gain world renown for his prose. He was 52 years old when he took the advice of his children and wrote his first story.

Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt got drafted into the Korean War and spent his life working at the docks once he got out. He also used the GI bill to attend New York University. It wasn’t until he hit the age of 66 that he published Angela’s Ashes. He would then go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Boeke Prize.

No matter how long it takes someone to write their first book, it’s being able to see it all of the way through to the end that really matters.

Nirad C. Chaudhuri

Nirad C. Chaudhuri studied history and graduated with honors from the Scottish Church College, Calcutta. After that, he started working as a clerk for the Indian army while writing articles for different magazines. Then he took on the position as secretary to Sarat Chandra Bose.

It wasn’t until he was in his 50s that he published his first book, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian. He was able to use all of his life experiences to write it and he never would have been able to do that without living through those experiences in the first place.

Mary Wesley

Finally, Mary Wesley wrote her very first children’s book at the age of 50. It wouldn’t be until 20 years later that she found success as an adult writer. Her first book for grownups was published at the age of 71 and the next one was turned into a TV series at the age of 72.

She would continue writing new books until the age of 84. It’s just one more reason that you should never give up doing the things that you love, no matter how old you get or how unlikely success happens to be.


  • Jack

    Innovative 54-year-old writer for Life Over 50. Based out of Manchster. Penning the future of fashion & tech for our seasoned readers. Age is just a number, style is timeless.

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