The Best Writers for Seniors

The best writers for seniors are Richard Osman, Anne Tyler, Hilary Mantel, Upton Sinclair, Alan Bradley, Pam Ayres, Michael Ondaatje and David Suzuki. You’re likely to know the senior you are thinking of better than we do, but with these writers, you’ll be hard-pressed to go wrong. 

The written word makes a great gift for older adults, allowing them to travel vast distances or take on entirely new experiences from the comfort of their living room.

Here’s an article you might enjoy which details the reading abilities and practices of older adults.

It can be hard to choose precisely the right writer for someone wise with experiences beyond the scope of your own, so without further ado, here are our tried and tested recommendations!

Richard Osman

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Author of the famous The Thursday Murder Club series, about a group of pensioner sleuths, Osman has also built a high-profile career as a comedian and regular host on the BBC.

There’s a fourth book due to be released shortly, and Steven Spielberg has acquired the film rights to the series, which means we may see a movie adaptation soon.

Anne Tyler

An accomplished novelist and short story writer, Tyler has published prolifically and has been shortlisted many times for The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and for the Man Booker Award.

One of her most recent novels, Redhead by The Side of the Road, has been earmarked as one of her best.

The novel follows Micah as he confronts unexpected circumstances which threaten to derail his otherwise manageable, but perhaps less than fulfilled, life. 

Hilary Mantel

Extremely well known, Mantel has delivered some of the most significant historical fiction of recent years.

Her collections of short stories are also worth recommending, particularly for readers who would appreciate a less lengthy read and the ability to choose a story to suit their mood.

If you are looking for a writer for an older person with an appreciation of or fascination with history, Mantel could be perfect.

Upton Sinclair

A firm unionist known for his novel The Jungle (a social examination of the rights of meatpacking workers), and perhaps most well known for his novel Oil! (adapted for the screen as There Will be Blood), Sinclair made a name for himself as a radical writer advocating for social change and critique.

He also, however, delivered the Lanny Budd series, arguably one of the best character-driven explorations of the twentieth century ever written.

This series offers older readers the chance to relive significant periods within their own lives, alongside the lovable and adventurous Lanny, who seems to get swept up into every major event of the century!

Alan Bradley

Author of a ten-book series which starts with his debut novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Bradley writes a child protagonist, Flavia de Luce, capable of entertaining and pulling older readers along with her antics as she works to absolve her father of a murder she knows he didn’t commit.

If the first book of the series fits like a glove, there are nine more novels to follow which you can also recommend!

Pam Ayres

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Writer and entertainer Pam Ayres talks about her latest book Who Are You Calling Vermin?, an honest and humorous look at life in the countryside

An all-around funny lady and regular comedian within the UK, Ayres has written a number of collections of amusing poetry about getting older, but also about family, appearances, her own little quirks, and any curveballs thrown her way.

These autobiographical poems will keep the older person in your life in high spirits, can be read aloud, and will entertain the senior in your life (and their friends too!) time and time again. 

Michael Ondaatje

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Well-known writer and Booker winner Ondaatje, perhaps most famous for his historical novel The English Patient, has written a number of other novels which older people are likely to enjoy.

The Cat’s Table, drawn partially from Ondaatje’s own experiences as a young boy, follows the adventures of Michael and a crew of other unlikely boys he meets on a long sea voyage between Sri Lanka and England.

Warlight, his most recent novel, follows Nathaniel and Rachel as they enter the postwar-period in England under the protection of a shadowy figure named The Moth, and without the guidance of their parents. 

David Suzuki

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An esteemed scientific communicator and environmental activist, Suzuki has also written a number of heartfelt, non-fiction reflections upon what we can do to deliver a sustainable future to subsequent generations.

Older readers will connect with Suzuki’s efforts to build a legacy for his own grandchildren through his writing, and are also likely to appreciate Suzuki’s ability to distill the relationship between a human life and the environment.

Suzuki has also released documentaries which older readers can watch.