10 Youngest Authors in History

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You may have heard of Christopher Paolini, who started his bestselling fantasy series, Inheritance, when he was 15. But when we went looking for the youngest authors ever, we found some astonishing younger examples. We’ve restricted this list to traditionally published novels for simplicity, and while it’s near-impossible not to miss someone, we think the authors we did find are pretty amazing.

10. Flavia Bujor

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Flavia Bujor wrote her first book when she was 12 and published it with HarperCollins when she was 14. The Prophecy of the Stones is about three teenage girls who come together to fulfill an ancient prophecy, while in a parallel world another girl lies dying in a hospital. The success or failure of the their mission will determine the fate of their world and the sick girl’s life.

Bujor was born in Romania but lives in France, where the book has sold 20,000 copies. It’s been translated in 23 languages and was released in the United States in 2004 to quite negative reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. She plans to write different kinds of books in the future and doesn’t want to be seen as a one-trick pony, saying to The Enquirer “I really don’t want people to think … I will always write this kind of book. It was just a beginning.”

9. Nancy Yi Fan

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Nancy Yi Fan is a Chinese-American author born in Beijing in 1993. She moved to Syracuse, New York, when she was seven years old, started writing her first novel, Swordbird, when she was eleven, and completed it a year later. She boldly emailed it directly to the CEO of HarperCollins, who published it in 2007. It was a New York Times bestseller, and HarperCollins also published Sword Quest in 2008 and Sword Mountain in 2012.

Oprah named Fan one of the world’s smartest kids and, in an interesting turn of events, Fan’s hero Jackie Chan also praised the book. Critics, however, have mentioned that the plot, which features a variety of good and evil magical sword-fighting birds, is extremely similar to Redwall and that the book suffers from a lack of originality.

8. Jake Marcionette

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Jake Marcionette wrote Just Jake, a loosely autobiographical novel about moving to a new school and “how kids can do big things,” in the summer of 2012 at the age of 12. After finishing, he allegedly searched the internet for tips on getting published and got an agent two days later. His novel reached the New York Times bestseller list, hitting seventh in children’s middle grade books. It was also featured in Publishers Weekly. Just Jake has been praised for its authentic kid’s voice, which is no surprise.

Jake is very confident in his abilities, saying, “I think I’m a good writer and I knew I had a message to tell people.” He says he always knew that his book would be a bestseller, and he wasn’t shy about cold-calling literary agents until he got one. His mother always made him and his sister each complete a book every summer, and he says he took this one more seriously than the others. He plans to continue the series for as long as possible.

7. Alexander Pope

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Alexander Pope is the oldest author on this list — when he wrote his first poem, “Ode to Solitude,” at the age of 12 it was the year 1700. He suffered from ill health following a childhood illness and had a curved spine, asthma and headaches. He also had a disjointed education due to his illness and tough laws against Catholics. According to his sister, all he did was write and read.

His first major work, Pastorals, was published in 1709, which brought him instant fame at age 21. This was followed by An Essay on Criticism in May 1711, which was also highly successful. His most well known poem is The Rape of the Lock, a satirical look at a high society quarrels.

Pope gained great financial success from his works, was lauded as the greatest English poet of the eighteenth century, and is the third most frequently quoted author in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations behind Shakespeare and Tennyson. He died in 1744.

6. Jyoti and Suresh Guptara

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The Guptara twins finished the first draft of their 700-page epic fantasy, Conspiracy of Calaspia, when they were just eleven. Set on the fictional titular planet, hero Byrn Bellyset joins a motley band of brave individuals to fight an enemy who defies logic. It is the first book in the Insanity series — they had to rewrite it ten times before it was finally accepted for publication when they were seventeen. It hit number two on the fiction bestseller list in India and secured foreign publishing deals — the rights to the novel’s Italian version were sold for €60,000, while the German rights sold for a six-figure advance.

The twins speak fluent English and German, and learned to read and write at age three. When Jyoti turned 18 in 2007, he was the youngest full-time novelist in the world. He also published an article in The Wall Street Journal when he was 15, the youngest person to do so.

5. Mattie Stepanek

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Mattie Stepanek was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, had to lug around an oxygen tank and was wheelchair-bound up to his death at the age of 14. That didn’t stop him from being the best-selling author of five books of poetry, a peace advocate and the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s National Goodwill Ambassador from 2002 to 2004. He started writing poetry when he was three years old to cope with the death of his brother (his mother has an adult-onset form of muscular dystrophy and his three older siblings died of it in early childhood, in the worst family tradition ever).

A book of his poetry was published by a Virginia press in 2001 and he was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, People Magazine and Larry King Live. Four more books of poems that he hoped would inspire people followed. He died in June 2004, having achieved all three of his wishes — publishing a book, meeting Oprah, and talking about peace with Jimmy Carter.

4. Alec Greven

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Alec Greven was nine when he wrote How to Talk to Girls. He found a publisher for it after making one of his three appearances on The Ellen Show. He also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

The third grader’s love tips include being friendly, neat and cheerful. He was inspired to write the book after seeing mistakes boys in school made when trying to get girls, although he says he’s a bit too young to be dating. Fox News did a report on the book, as did The Washington Post. Alec has also written How to Talk to Moms, How to Talk to Dads and How to Talk to Santa, all of which are published by HarperCollins. He made the New York Times bestseller list for a book he said took a week to write.

3. Daisy Ashford

Daisy Ashford

Daisy Ashford is famous for writing The Young Visiters. While she wrote the book in 1890 at the age of nine, the book wasn’t published until 1919. In an interesting stylistic choice, she preserved her childlike spelling and punctuation, as evidenced by the error in the title.

However, that wasn’t her earliest published story. When she was four, she dictated a story called “The Life of Father McSwiney” to her father, which was published in 1983. Other stories and plays included “A Woman’s Crime” and “The Hangman’s Daughter.”

Known as a child prodigy, Ashford didn’t write in her teens or later life. She may have been ashamed of her writing, as she reportedly began an autobiography but destroyed it. But ‘The Young Visiters’ was an immediate success when published, and several of her other stories were published in 1920. She said she felt very removed from her younger self that wrote the book, and was surprised by its fame. “I can never feel all the nice things that have been said about The Young Visiters, are really due to me at all, but to a Daisy Ashford of so long ago that she seems almost another person.”

2. Christopher Beale

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At the age of six, Christopher Beale wrote a story in his bedroom after lunch every day. While this in itself isn’t usual, Beale’s grew to 1,500 words and five chapters. Called This and Last Season’s Excursions, it was published in London in November 2006. The story is about his favorite stuffed animals. A puppy and a kitten feature as they rescue owls, fight lions and search for a moving city.

He beat the Guinness World Record for youngest male author by 42 days, having completed the novel when he was six years and 118 days old. The previous record-holder was a Brazilian boy who wrote a book called Dragon Island. While Beale hasn’t had much commercial success, the impressive record stands.

1. Dorothy Straight

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Dorothy Straight is on record as being the youngest published author ever. At the age of four, when many children can’t read let alone write, she wrote a story for her grandmother. Her parents took a shine to it and sent it to Pantheon Books, who published it in 1964 when Straight was 6. Called How the World Began, she apparently wrote and illustrated the story in one evening when her mother insisted she answer the question “How did the world begin?”

Some of her ideas are attributed to a play put on in her preschool and it’s clear that her parents had a big influence, but it’s still impressive that four year old Dorothy was able to write a complete story that’s still known today. It even has a short review from the prestigious Kirkus.

Want to read about more kids who are already way more successful than most of us ever will be?
We’ve got a list of world changing inventions by whippersnappers, as well as a list of teenage scientists who put your baking soda and vinegar volcanoes to shame.
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41 Comments

  1. Check out Jackson Horvat’s “The Vortex Entrance” on Amazon. Jack began writing the book in 7th grade and was published by age 15. He’s already working on the 2nd book in the 6 book series.

  2. Satyajay Mandal on

    That is good but please provide atleast 2 people from your side for the Eklavya Book Academy Writing Contest,one of whom must be an employee working there who is also working as a PGT of Physics in some school in Colaba

  3. Jennie Park Foster on

    Hi Pritvik Sinhadc published his first book when he was seven years of age. He started writing it when he was six I believe. His first book, titled ‘When Dinosaurs Roamed The Earth’ made him the youngest author in the world in palaeontology. This boy is now 10 or 11 and he is publishing three more books on Radioactive Mutations and Nuclear Waste, Prehistoric Beasts and Rare Dinosaurs. You can read more about on the net. He also has a website http://www.pritviksinhadc.com
    So in other words, he does fall into the top list of the youngest authors in the world.

  4. My son Christians Samir Graves is 5 years old and wrote a book that launched on Amazon last week. The book is called Being 5 and its already #3 on the Hot New Releases. My wife (Nakisha Graves King) and I have been reaching out to Ellen to get him on the show.

  5. Trishala Vashishth on

    I am 12 and I am writing a novel too . I am very sad after reading that I can’t be the youngest novelist.

    • Yes, but you can be in the top 10…possibly. My friend Ava wrote a book when she was 8 or 9 but she’s not on here! Look up Peaches and Wheelchairs…I reccomend that book. It has a strong message! …About feminism. ? Still. Some of the youngest authors aren’t on here. But there’s always going to be someone younger and that’s okay! Quality is what matters! Shock people! (:

  6. sofia angelini on

    I am eleven and have written two novels and half way through the 3rd one in the series. My longest one so far is 245 pages. Still, I’m upset that I’m not the youngest author…

    • Shreeveen Chauhan on

      Will you ever publish your novels. I have written 2 books at between 8-9. I rewrote one of them and in my 13rth birthday it will be publish. I will wish your novel will sold very much and you live in US I think your English would be perfect. Good luck

    • I’m 12 and have written 3 Warriors fanfics (embarrassingly), co-written one with my little sister (who is 11 now and was 10), and written 2 books myself. 😛 but I don’t want to ever publish. I reccomend Wattpad for your ideas, although you must be 13 to use, so be careful with what you give away.

  7. Sianus Barrow on

    You shouldn’t be upset that you’re not the youngest author. What matters most is what’s in the content, the lesson you can take from it, how your novel strikes many hearts and leaves a feeling to all of your readers.

  8. Ben Fischer on

    Hi. My name is Ben Fischer- I had written a novel when I was 10-11 and had it published when I was 12 by a division of random house. The book is called “The Heir To The Throne”. I’be not seen updates on this list as of yet but I’ve noted that there seems to be several other young authors on these comment boards who are eligible for this list. It would be of more help- to both the authors of this list, the other authors here, and myself- if this list was updated to be more accurate.

  9. Just earlier this week I published a book that I started when I was twelve. I’m thirteen now. The book is called Bryan Langdon.

  10. I am 12 and I am writing a horror book but I will not give you the title of it because I don’t want anyone to steal my idea. I will tell you that I am also writing it with another 12 year old.

  11. Yahya Ashraf has been recently announced as the world’s 3rd youngest author!!!
    I recently read his book and it’s phenomenal…….. He wrote his first book at 10 named -“James Cook-A fantastic adventure of James cook”
    You can search for him at the site celibraty authors…..
    Please do read his 2nd book-“Henry Albus and the transformigation watch”
    Which is ranked at 7th position after wimpy kid!!!
    Speechless about this young boy!!!

  12. Did you giys just forget the seven year old young girl named Tuba Sahaab who lives in Pakistan? She wrote her first book at the age of seven and is the youngest writer of her country i think she should be mentioned as second youngest writer in the world, anyways go google her out her next book that is her first novel on international peace is coming out this year she is also international ambassador of poetry

  13. Zachary Schnotala on

    I’m writing a book called the Dragonite Chronicles. Congrats to everyone who took up the idea to write! P.S. I’m 12 right now, plan to publish at 13. Look for FireIce Series: Rise of Fire in a few years and I am sure you will find it! 🙂

      • Zachary Schnotala on

        Dang. I haven’t checked THIS website in a while. I’m actually turning fourteen soon. Anyway, even if you feel you aren’t good enough, never stop trying! The first book I tried to write was complete garbage, so I thought, “You know, self, scratch that and start again.” So I did. The book I’m writing right now is actually my fourth go at trying to write a good Dragonite story, and I hope it’ll stick. I hope this helps you in any way, and I hate how long it took me to respond (and you might not even see it; hope you didn’t forget about this website).

        Actually, if I get your email I can share my current draft with you if you want it.

    • Zachary Schnotala on

      Alright, there’s been a name change. Dragonite Chronicles: Seige on the Evergreen Palace is the official title. I hope to publish it sooner or later, but I just haven’t gotten the time to finish it…

  14. I’m fourteen and going to finish my 60,000 word novel soon, before high school. I’m honestly both saddened and encouraged by this list of authors. Age isn’t something anyone can reverse, so I’ll never be the youngest author, but I’m glad age doesn’t prevent anyone from writing!

    • Great spirit! I’ve written 3 Warriors books (don’t judge,) including one with my sister, and 2 regular books, but I’m scared to publish because I’m so young and the books won’t be good enough. I admire your boldness and optimism! ? Any advice to a 12-year-old?

  15. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/youngest-person-to-write-a-published-book-(male)
    Thanuwana Serasinghe, a Sri Lankan boy living in Victoria, Seychelles has bought fame to Sri Lanka by creating the Guinness world Record for youngest author ever for a published book. Beating the Guinness record created by Adauto Kovalski Da Silva of Brazil at the age of 5 years and 302days, Thanuwana has taken just three days to author a book titled “Junk Food” published by the Sri Lankan Publishing House, Sooriya Publishers. When he achieved this feet, he had been 04 years and 356 days old!

  16. My friend Ava wrote a book when she was 8 or 9, and I don’t see her on this list! Look up “Peaches and Wheelchairs.” She wrote two but that’s her more famous one. 😛 I was shocked when she read it to the class because it was so good and she was my age!

  17. Valeria Robles Cortez. Considered the youngest writer in the country, with only 7 years old she already has two story publications: La Flor Bonita and Las Aventuras del oso Johnny and the dog Piqui. In the last Trujillo Book Fair he presented his most recent production.

  18. The youngest poet of world is THIRU GNANASAMBHANDHAR .He started his poem at 3 year old . He was Tamil Nadu ,India

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