Typee was published in 1846, when Melville was 27. Moby-Dick was published when he was 32. (When Melville was on, he was ON.)
1984 was published in 1949, when Orwell was 46. His first novel Burmese Days was published when he was 31.
The Edible Woman was published in 1969, when Atwood was 30. The Handmaid’s Tale was published 16 years later, though.
Fitzgerald was crazy. He was 24 when This Side of Paradise was published and 29 for Gatsby.
Joyce got Dubliners published at 32, but he published a collection of poetry seven years prior. Ulysses came when he was 40, with only Portrait and a play in between.
I want to talk about Beckett, but…(Kafka too, for different reasons, of course)
Coetzee started publishing at 34, but I think the story goes that he didn’t commit himself to novels until 35.
Philip Roth started publishing at 26.
Junot Diaz was 28 when Drown came out.
Capote’s first novel came out when he was 24. In Cold Blood came out 17 years later.
Sarah Vowell started publishing around 28.
Susan Sontag’s first experimental novel came at age 30. Her nonfiction started at 33.
Diane Ackerman published poetry at 28 and nonfiction at 32.
Edward Abbey was 27 for Jonathan Troy, but didn’t publish nonfiction for 14 more years.
Hemingway’s short stories started getting published when he was 24.
Faulkner was 29.
James Baldwin was also 29. His first published work was Go Tell It on the Mountain.
Alice Walker was 26 for The Third Life of Grange Copeland. The Color Purple was twelve years later.
Toni Morrison was 39 when The Bluest Eye was published.
Paul Bowles was 39 when The Sheltering Sky came out.
Ralph Ellison was 38 for Invisible Man.
Actually, let’s end with those.