Several months ago, I submitted a new novel by one of my bestselling clients to a house that hadn’t previously published him and to an editor who was a great fan of his. The editor loved the novel – he should have, it is brilliant – but when he presented it to his colleagues, they turned it down. A couple of weeks later, I had lunch with one of this editor’s co-workers who told me the real reason the novel was turned down was that my client was too old. I was absolutely dumbfounded.
Then I read this piece in Publishers Weekly and I realized that in this day and age, when it’s all about youth, older authors are sometimes discriminated against simply because of age.
How incredibly stupid is that? These writers have not only honed their skills over many years, they also have so much more life experience to draw upon in their writing. Older novelists, I find, have the skill and patience to create stories with depth and well drawn characters. While there are many brilliant young novelists, we should not discount the contributions of our literary “elder statesmen and –women.”
So I wonder, what you think about all of this? Have you read any interesting well written fiction lately by someone who is, say, over fifty or sixty?
Oh, and about that client of mine – the one I spoke about at the beginning of this blog? I sold his novel to a much better publisher than the one who had claimed he was too old. We have great expectations that the novel is going to be a huge success.