20 February 2010

How old is the writer of the book you are currently reading?

Over in the right hand column you will find a poll that asks the same question as the title of this post.

Do you take much notice of the age of your favourite authors?

Ruth Rendell turned 80 this week, PD James is 90 this year, Alexander McCall Smith will be 62, Dick Francis recently died at 89, and if Agatha Christie was still alive she'd be turning 120.

Do authors get better as they get older? Do they age like wine?
Or do you think they should stop working at retirement age?
What would we have missed out on if your favourite author had done that?

If you have to do some research so that you can participate in the poll, you could try Fantastic Fiction or even Wikipedia.

Do leave a comment about the book you are reading, and the age of the author.

15 comments:

Kerrie said...

I've just started reading THE RUNNER by Peter May. He was born in 1951, so that makes him 59 this year.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

I am reading "La reina sin espejo" (The queen without mirror) by Lorenzo Silva. To my knowledge it is not available in English. Born in 1966, he will turned 44 this year.

Deb said...

Right now I'm reading THE PRICE OF THE BUTCHER'S MEAT by Reginald Hill. It's a Dalziel & Pascoe mystery. Hill is in his mid-seventies and is still producing quality work. The same for Robert Barnard (one of my absolute favorites). I believe Peter Lovesey is also about that age--and is also still writing great books.

I read recently that one of my other favorites, Margaret Yorke, is still alive, but retired some time ago. She's about the same age as P.D. James, but hasn't published anything in a while.

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Interesting question! Right now, I'm reading Simon Beckett's Whispers of the Dead. Born in 1968, Beckett will turn 42 this year.

Kaye said...

Ruth Rendell- I didn't realize she was that old. I just finished her book, The Water's Lovely and in fact, reviewed it this morning on my blog. Great book!

~Jennifer~ said...

I'm reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova who is 45.

Fans are going to be disappointed their favorite author retires and if the author's quality of work declines so I think authors should only do what feels right to them and not worry about what we want.

Kerrie said...

I'm beginning to wonder if we are going to get any writers in their 30s let alone younger. Deb - I didn't know Margaret Yorke was still alive. She seems to have been around for so long.

Another interesting question might be to look at how old an author was at the time of their debut novel. Simon Becket would have been in mid 30s or even younger Margot.

I guess my central idea might be -how old do you have to be to write stuff that people want to read. I suspect authors are older these days.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

It seems that you have to be older than 40 for people to read your books, no matter when you wrote them.

Kerrie said...

Shakespeare died at 52 Jose - now there's some food for thought!

Bernadette in Australia said...

I'm reading MURDER IN MYKONOS by Jeffrey Siger - he doesn't provide his age but going by his bio he'd have to be late 50's at the youngest. I recent;y finished George Pelecanos' THE WAY HOME and he is supposed to be a 'voice of youth' type author but turns out he's 51 or therabouts. Looking at all the books I've read this year there don't appear to be any by authors under 40 although judging by her photo Caro Ramsay might well be younger than that - her website however is utterly devoid of useful information and I can't easily find out how old she is.

Vanda Symon said...

I'm reading Tasha Alexander's 'And only to Deceive, which is a historical mystery. I've guessing her age is early thirties - her bio doesn't give an age, but she looks ridiculously young and glamourous! Loving the book.

Brian Kavanagh said...

Currently reading,or re-reading, Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.

Kerrie said...

She does look too young doesn't she Vanda?

Anonymous said...

I voted deceased, because the author of one of the books I'm reading is deceased, and I guess that's the primary book I'm reading. But I'm also reading a book by someone who is 68, and another written by two authors who are about to turn 40. And the book by the deceased author is an older book, and was published when the author was 31.

Thanks for asking.

Barbara

Caroline said...

I'm reading and enjoying Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, and Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Odyssey---bit behind the times there, eh?

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