Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Bestselling female authors who nailed their biggest hit novel under the age of 30

It's slightly depressing to think that while we squandered our college days on endless rounds of Snakebite, some of our contemporaries were signing their first book deals. 

Award-winning novelist Helen Oyeyemi secured rights for her first novel The Icarus Girl when she was studying for A-Levels at school. Mary Shelley wrote her gothic masterpiece Frankenstein at the tender age of 19, inspired by a holiday with friends that was spent telling ghost stories. And at 25, Téa Obreht became the youngest person ever to win the Orange prize for her Balkans war story The Tiger's Wife.

These young writers and others like them breezily implode the myth that you have to have had years of life experience behind you to become an established author. Their fresh and original voices conjure up imaginative, sharply observed prose that easily rivals that of veteran literary heavyweights. 

Meet the bright young things of literature, both past and present, who have set the publishing world alight: 

Words: Anna Brech, Images: Rex Features and Getty Images

Related

hero-2.jpg

Top 50 romantic lines from literature

rexfeatures_950188a.jpg

The best new book releases of 2015

rexfeatures_1221742p.jpg

2014's most powerful and provocative longreads

Comments

More

The nightmarish full trailer for The Handmaid's Tale has landed

Chilling

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017

Incredible quotes about mothers in literature

Tissues, at the ready...

23 Mar 2017

31 of the most uplifting lines from literature to brighten up any day

Literary pearls of wisdom for when you're despairing of the world.

by Hayley Spencer
20 Mar 2017

An eight-year-old has written a bestseller about her annoying brother

"Well, he's a little downright annoying," said Nia Mya

17 Mar 2017

Photographer depicts young girls at their most powerful

"Strength isn't always loud and feisty."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
14 Mar 2017

Bookshop makes powerful statement about the gender gap in fiction

"We’ve silenced male authors, leaving works of women in view.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
13 Mar 2017

Five beautiful poems to read when you need a good cry

Selected by Judi Dench, Elena Ferrante, Mariella Frostrup and more

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 Mar 2017

Exclusive: JoJo Moyes is writing a third Lou Clark book

Get ready 'Me Before You' fans...

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 Mar 2017

Meet your new booklist: The Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction longlist

Sixteen new reads to add to your list

by Francesca Brown
08 Mar 2017

Jo Cox’s husband is writing her memoirs

Jo Cox: More in Common will be published on the eve of the first anniversary of her death.

by Moya Crockett
06 Mar 2017