Spotlight on Teen Authors

It's never too early to begin writing; many well-known authors started writing their works as teenagers, and all took different paths to publishing their books. Some of the following authors wrote as a hobby or to pass the time, while others wrote as the result of challenges or passion projects. Each one put in the work to meet their goals and took the risk in releasing their books to a wider audience via publishing. 

Christopher Paolini

Paolini was 15 years old when he started writing Eragon. Inspired by some of his favorite novels, including Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, and Dune and Magician, he began writing Eragon as a hobby. After his parents read his revised copy of the story, they helped him self-publish the books. One year later, Knopf Books picked up the story allowing Paolini to finish and publish the remaining three books in his four-book series called The Inheritance Cycle

Eragon

Mary Shelley

Shelley was 19 years old when she finished writing the now classic book Frankenstein. It is reported she wrote this story as part of a friendly competition against poet Lord Byron. Frankenstein is now considered one of the founding works in the science fiction genre.

Frankenstein

Katherine Ewell

Ewell was just 17 years old when she wrote Dear Killer. She has been named a California Arts Scholar and was awarded the California Governor's Medallion for artistically talented youth.

Dear Killer

Hannah Moskowitz

Moskowitz wrote her first story about a kitten named Lilly on the run from cat hunters at seven years old. She submitted it for a contest, but it was disqualified for being too violent. Her first published book, Break, was on the American Library Association's 2010 list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults when she was 19 years old. In 2013, Gone, Gone, Gone received a Stonewall Honor. Her 2015 novel Not Otherwise Specified was named the YA Bisexual Book of the Year. Moskowitz is also the co-author of Gena/Finn with Kat Helgeson and has contributed to several other anthologies.

Gone, Gone, Gone

Beth Reekles

At 15, Reekles wrote the first Kissing Booth book. It won the Wattpad 2011 prize for Most Popular Teen Fiction. In 2017, Penguin Random House offered her a three book contract, and in 2018, the first of three movies based on the Kissing Booth books aired on Netflix. The final movie of the series released on August 11, 2021. Reekles has written three other books outside this series, including Rolling Dice, Out of Tune, and Love, Locked Down.

The Kissing Booth

Amy Zhang

Before and after school, 15-year-old Zhang spent all her time writing Falling Into Place. At this point, Zhang had already written five unpublished novels but wanted to take this one further. It took her a few months to find an agent, but when she did, her story was sold to HarperCollins in only three days. Zhang has since written another book, This is Where the World Ends and is working on a third.

Falling into Place

Ned Vizzini

Vizzini’s first published work was an essay he wrote at the age of 15 in the New York Times. At age 17, he compiled a collection of his own stories that had been published in the New York Times and New York Press to create his book called Teen Angst? Naaah…  A few years later, his second book titled It’s Kind of a Funny Story was published.

It's Kind of A Funny Story

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