‘Things are definitely opening up’: the rise of older female writers

The literary world is often accused of an obsession with youth, from multiple awards targeted at authors under 40 to publishers who hunt for new voices exclusively among young with a thriving – and instantly marketable – social media following. But all that is changing, experts say: , unpublished writers are now at a premium – with radical, edgy women aged into their 80s particularly sought-after. Cherry Potts, the founder of the independent publisher Arachne Press, said: “There has been a sea change in publishers' understanding and acceptance of older women's experience and their voices, which are no longer dismissed as safe or cozy. “It started with small presses like us, but our ripple is now working through to the industry as a whole,” said Potts, who has recently published debut works from women aged 70 to 85 and, in October, will publish a menopause-themed anthology. Importantly, Potts added, there is a “very willing readership” for the work of older women “including that most elusive of the reader: the white, middle-aged man.” Lesley Kerr recently had her first published at 52 years old. There are very few literary awards to help older writers break into the industry. But this is starting to change: in May, Jenny Brown Associates is launching a prize for debut writers over 50. Lisa Highton, an associate agent at Jenny Brown Associates and a […]

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