A Best Selling Novella Written By A Nine-Year-Old

Samuel Reason | January 29th, 2018

One would think that you would need to have experienced the world to write a bestseller, well that is not what Daisy Ashford thought. In 1890 at the tender age of nine, she wrote a novel which later went on to become the best selling novel!


Ashford was an English writer who published several books during the 20th century, her most popular work though has to be The Young Visiters which she wrote when only nine years old! It describes the life of a young living in the upper-class society of the late 19th century. As one could expect the spelling of the novel is a little wrong, but that just adds to the magic of reading a story written from the eyes of a child.

In 1917, when clearing out the house of her late mother’s affairs she found the manuscript she wrote when nine years old hidden in one of her old school books. She thought the novella was quite funny so shared it with some friends, who in turn shared it with a publisher by the name of Chatto and Windus. The publisher was so fascinated by the tale that they decided to publish it as it was, without correcting any of the spelling mistakes or inconsistent writing of a nine-year-old.

In fact, it was so good that many writers and critics at the time were impressed by the style and plot. This led to the author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie writing a preface for the book, The Young Visiters was so much in demand that it was reprinted about 18 times in its first year. The public actually believed it was all a joke by J.M. Barrie, that he wrote the novel under a pen name with the spelling mistakes as a social experiment! Daisy Ashford, of course, was adamant this was not the case.

It all became a little too much for Ashford though who never intended to be a revolutionary writer, so she bought a farm with the money she made from the book. As she puts it so perfectly: “I like fresh air and royalty cheques.” Don’t we all?

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