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Going strong: 6 writers over 70

Margaret Atwood, 75, has a new book. Do you know these 6 authors still writing strong into their 70s?

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With a new book coming out and an upcoming speaking engagement at the Boston Book Festival (an event The Writer will be attending as well), Margaret Atwood, age 75, made us wonder – which other authors who have been in our pages are still writing strong into their 70s?

With age truly does come experience, and the following writers, all of whom have appeared in our pages, have plenty.

margaret atwoodMargaret Atwood

Age: 75
First book published: The Edible Woman (1969)
Most recent book published: The Heart Goes Last (2015)
Bibliography: 15 novels, 8 short fiction collections, 8 children’s books, 17 poetry collections, 10 nonfiction works and a number of small press editions and TV and radio scripts

Atwood in The Writer: “It’s not that I’m actually that prolific. It’s just that I’m quite old. I’ve been doing it for a long time, so it looks like a lot when you see it on a shelf. But then when you take the number of years I’ve been on the planet and divide that pile of books by that number of years, you’ll see that actually it’s rather slow.”

Read the rest of our interview with Margaret Atwood.




Isabel Allende

Age: 73
First book published: The House of the Spirits (1982)
Most recent book published: Ripper (2014)
Bibliography: 18 novels, 4 nonfiction works

Allende in The Writer: “When I started writing, I always had the feeling that the book was like a gift – that it would just fall in my lap like an apple, or something. So I almost had the feeling that it wasn’t going to happen again.”

Read the rest of our interview with Isabel Allende.





JoyceCarolOatesJoyce Carol Oates

Age: 77
First book published: By the North Gate (1963)
Most recent book published: The Lost Landscape (2015)
Bibliography: 40+ novels, 30+ short story collections, 18 essays and memoirs, 11 novels written under pseudonyms, 11 novellas, 10 poetry collections, 9 dramas, 9 children’s/YA books

Oates in The Writer: “I try to keep in mind the delicate relationship between what is unique, perhaps even eccentric, and what is universal. Only in this relationship is there a true subject, worthy of long hours of work.”

Read more from Joyce Carol Oates’s throwback article.



343px-Lois_Lowry_author_2014Lois Lowry

Age: 78
First book published: A Summer to Die (1977)
Most recent book published: Son (2012)
Bibliography: 16 standalone books, 5 children’s book series totaling 26 books, 1 autobiography

Lowry in The Writer: “In writing, it is not the veracity of the details that matter. As fiction writers, we lie about those anyway. The truth of the feelings is the only essential thing,” Lowry says.

Read more from Lois Lowry’s throwback article.




Author Russell Banks. photo by Nancie Battaglia

Russell Banks

Age: 75
First book published: Family Life (1975)
Most recent book published: A Permanent Member of the Family (2013)
Bibliography: 12 novels, 6 short story collections, 2 poetry collections, 2 nonfiction works

Banks in The Writer: “Sometimes characters arrive fully clothed and ready to go and have a voice and a history and a life attached to them. Other times, they come in mysteriously without much announcement, without much information, and you have to uncover it over time.”


Read the rest of our interview with Russell Banks.


sue grafton, photo by laurie robertsSue Grafton

Age: 75
First book published: Keziah Dane (1967)
Most recent book published: X (2015)
Bibliography: 2 standalone novels, the 24-book “alphabet” Kinsey Millhone series, multiple screenplays

Grafton in The Writer: “The problem is that we view writing as a luxury, something special to allow ourselves as soon as we’ve taken care of the countless nagging duties that seem to come first. Once you put writing first, the rest of your life will fall into place.”

Read more from Sue Grafton’s throwback article.

Originally Published