We can picture it now; sitting in the student center watching a new day dawn, as our hands shake fueled by 13 Red Bulls, Twizzlers, and an ever-encroaching deadline. But we did. We really did it. A 13 page thesis on Hamlet, and not a minute too soon. As we hit “send” we feel a little piece of our soul come back, or maybe that’s just the heart palpitations dying down as our system crashes, we can’t be sure. For a moment, we are smug. This might be the most average thing we’ve ever written, solid B-. Then we remember there are people out there younger than us, kids even, who have achieved literary success on scales we can only dream of. As we slink off to fever dream for the next 48 hours, we can only wonder if they too power through that last chapter with strong coffee and stronger self-loathing. We refuse to be alone to ponder our own mediocrity, so we’d like to drag you with us, if that’s ok. You’ll find them and their work listed below along with their respective ages during authoring. Have a listen to any of these over-achievers and remember, these child authors are not only smarter but probably better looking too.
Ready to feel worthless? Paolinni started writing this book, the first in a series, at 15. 15! We were busy (kind of) learning how to drive and navigating the regrettable world of blue eyeshadows while this kid is penning an expansive fantasy novel. It tells the tale of a young boy on the cusp of manhood (subtle) and his most crucial of all first loves. For nothing is more sacred than the bond between a boy and his dragon. Audibly dive into a world full of mad kings and mythical beings, and while you’re suspending reality, pretend to dust of that screenplay you started in college.
Now that we’ve hopefully gotten a chuckle out of you, we’re going to take you down. Way down. WWII down. We’ve all at least heard of Anne Frank and her famous diary, but we had no idea she was 15 when it was posthumously published. Another young prodigy, Anne began writing in the diary when she was only 13. Describing her time growing into a young woman as she and her family hid from Nazis, her writing poetically captures both the fear and tedium of such an existence. With beautiful ideas and whimsical musings of a teenage girl, one cannot read it without wondering what else this budding author would have penned if her life had not been cruelly cut short. Truly haunting.
You might remember Stepanek as friends with our personal lord and savior Oprah, but what you might not know is that he wrote 6 volumes of poetry in his short life. Sorry, yes, he also passed on at the age of 13 of a rare form of dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy. He penned his poems as a collection of peace essays and had a successful career as a motivational speaker. He said above all, he hoped to be remembered as “a poet, a peacemaker, and a philosopher who played”. We assume you’re weeping quietly; we’ll show ourselves out.
Instead of complaining to her diary about life as a teenager, Susan Eloise Hinton, under the alias S.E. Hinton, took her real life 15-year-old experiences and forged the path of what would become the standard of young adult fiction. And, to make our younger selves feel even more incompetent, The Outsiders was later adapted into a successful feature film. Bored with stories that were popular when Hinton was young, she decided to depict the realistic struggles of coming to age and pulled much of her inspiration from her own life events. So as tempted as you may be after listening to this classic, don’t go back and read through your high school diary, you wont be impressed.