This is going to be a free-form pondering post to which I would welcome any sort of input!
We have heard today in the UK that the ex presenter of a TV show called Countryfile has won her case, in that she argued she had been removed for being too old. It is not the first example we've seen on TV and movie screen where certain people are picked over others thanks to age.
So today I am talking about ageism and sexism - and how it affects/does not affect publishing.
My personal thought was that ageism was non-existent in the book world. After all, writers of all ages are being published! But then I considered the fantasy arena - if an author goes to a publisher with an exciting new ten-book series, but they are in their sixties, would the publisher take the risk on beginning the cycle where an older author might (god forbid) perish during the writing?
If we look at YA fiction, it strikes me that publishers would prefer younger authors to push, since they can talk with a great degree of understanding to the teens who are reading their books.
I don't think any publisher would state directly that they'd prefer younger authors - and this is proved, in the fact that they will take on older authors as well - but do you think age presents any sort of consideration for the publisher?
Relating to sexism, Adam Roberts has written an interesting article on the Booker Prize. He crunched the numbers of the shortlisted/winning authors and discovered that the shortlisted authors have, in the majority, been men. We've also seen a lot of discussion from Niall Harrison at Torque Control about women in the SF arena and the fact that the field is dominated by men.
Is there sexism in publishing? Is it that men are picked over women, or is it that more men are writing novels? Obviously, in a genre such as women's fiction, the reverse could said to be true - authors such as Mike Gayle are very much in the minority and therefore seen as unusual. I'm sure the fact he is a guy is considered a unique selling point by his publisher, since he can write accurately about the way men feel during relationships!
I can't pull any conclusions out of this, which is why I would welcome your impressions on publishing and whether they are affected by ageism and sexism!