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First-time writers over 50 make waves in literary circles

Published on Dec 17, 2012 5:10 PM
Singapore-based Jane Nardin, 68, is one of four authors over the age of 50 whose debut novels are making waves in literary circles. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING

It is never too late to write a great book, as proven by four authors whose debut novels are making waves in literary circles.

On the list are 81-year-old Pakistani writer Jamil Ahmad whose book, The Wandering Falcon, was shortlisted last month for the US$50,000 (S$61,000) DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, to be given out next year. The novel about tribal customs and warfare along Pakistan's borders is based on the former civil servant's own experiences in the area 50 years ago, and was shortlisted last year for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

Then there is The Housemaid's Daughter by South African Barbara Mutch, 57, a tale of friendship across the races in apartheid-ruled South Africa. It is being named book of the month by publications from Australia to Canada and has been hailed by literary reviewers for its evocative prose.

Closer to home, Singapore-based Jane Nardin, 68, was featured on the well-known Huffington Post news website because of her first novel, Little Women In India. A reworking of Louisa May Alcott's 19th century tale, Little Women, this book written by the National University of Singapore academic tells the comic adventures of four European sisters in British-ruled India.

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