Does the publishing industry glorify bright young things?

There's been ample support for young writers in terms of targeted opportunities and awards but what about later bloomers?

While the push for more diverse writers in the Australian publishing industry is generating change, one stalwart is yet to budge, a preference that’s endemic in all cultural spheres: the continued valorisation of youth.

There are at least two major literary awards set aside specifically for writers 35 and under (The Australian/Vogel and The Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Writers Awards) but there is a lack of similar acknowledgment for those over such arbitrary age limits. How hard is it to be published if you are not young and sexy? Why is there little to no targeted support for writers over 40?

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Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was published by University of Western Australia Press (UWAP). Her next collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Twitter: @thuy_on