It is too often said that youth is wasted on the young. Well, say that to John Keats, Zadie Smith, F. Scott Fitzgerald or any of the other many literary wunderkinder who have bedazzled us with their raw, unjaded ability to capture the world from a youth's-eye-view.
But that's not to say that talent fades as age kicks in. The literary world is full of writers who spent years – decades, even – honing their ideas and polishing their prose before writing their best book in the Autumn of their career.
Or as Mark Twain, a late-career bloomer himself, once said, “Ageing is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Here, from George Orwell to Nella Larsen, are some of history's greatest writers who proved that creative energy, like fine wine or a mistrust of technology, only ripens with age.