Each year on April 10th "National Encourage a Young Writer Day" is celebrated! Take the day to consider the young creatives in your life: Do you know a teen with a vivid imagination? A juvenile with a penchant for storytelling? A fledgling who devours every book they get their hands on? A pupil with a passion for vocabulary?
You may have a great writer on your hands.
With all this time at home on our hands, encourage their skill by giving them a journal, writing prompts (like: Kicking in the Wall, conveniently available online), or writer's guides (like: Write Better Right Now, also available online!). Remember, there's no age limit or minimum to start flexing those writing skills. For inspiration, in Center for the Reader, we have compiled a list of authors who wrote (and published) under the age of twenty!
Young Visiters Or, Mr. Salteena's Plan by Daisy Ashford
This 1919 novel was written when the author was only 9 years old! Part of its appeal is that publishers left Ashford's juvenile descriptions, such as Mr. Salteena, "an elderly man of 42," and her unconventional spelling and grammar. Check out our ebook copy, currently available online via HOOPLA!
Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
Daly first wrote a short story titled “Fifteen” at age fifteen and placed third in a Scholastic sponsored competition. At 16 she won first prize with a story titled, you guess it, “Sixteen.” She then began writing this novel at age...right again, 17, and published in 1942 when she was 21 years old. SLPL has you covered with this streaming audiobook version!
The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
Heyer began developing this story at 17 to entertain her brother Boris, who was often weak due to a form of haemophilia. Her father enjoyed listening to her story so much that he asked her to prepare it for publication and found her a publisher. It was released in 1921, when Heyer was 19 years old. Check out one of three editions available online via HOOPLA!
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Hinton is credited with beginning the YA genre with this novel. Written while she was still attending high school, it's no wonder she captured the essence of teenage-hood so skillfully. SLPL offers both ebook and downloadable audiobook copies! If those are checked out, don't forget our RBdigital downloadable audiobook!
My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
This novel was written when Franklin was 16 years old and originally published in 1901. Franklin requested it remain out of print for sixty-five years, and wasn't republished until twelve years following her death. Now it's even been adapted to film! Checkout our ebook copies available through Libby and HOOPLA!
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Paolini was 15 years old when he wrote his first draft, taking a year to revise it, then giving it to his parents to read. His parents decided to self publish the novel. In 2002, Carl Hiaasen read his stepson’s copy and passed it on to Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Published in 2003, the book was immediately a New York Times Best Seller. In 2006 the movie adaptation was released when Paolini was 23 years old. In 2011, the Guinness World Records recognized him as the “youngest author of a bestselling book series.” SLPL has an available ebook and downloadable audiobook!
Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Shelley began developing this, now classic, work of literature at age 18 at Lord Byron’s villa where friends were entertaining with ghost stories. It was then published anonymously when she was 20 years old. Now it's common required reading for high school students and undergraduates across the globe. Check out our downloadable audiobook or our ebook copies!
The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
Written when Helen was 18 years old, while studying for her A-Levels. After reading 20 pages, her publisher secured her for a two book deal. Check out many of Oyeyemi's other books available as downloadable ebooks and audiobooks now!