In the mid 1990s there emerged a new genre of novels which became known as Chick Lit. Wikipedia describes this as "Heroine-centred narratives that focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists". With a lighthearted approach, Chick Lit characters also tended to be single, white, heterosexual, British and American women in their late twenties and early thirties, and Chick Lit titles began to top bestseller lists. It is generally agreed that British author Catherine Alliott's The Old Girl Network (1994) was the start of the chick lit genre and the inspiration for Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary (1996). The Chick Lit genre is still massively popular today, so it is hardly surprising that major publishing houses continue to sign up books which appeal to Chick Lit Readers.
But what has happened to the Chick Lit readers of the mid 1990s? I can only speak for myself. Aged 40 in the mid 1990s, I was more than happy to immerse myself in the trials of Bridget Jones and her social network.
However, I'm now in my 60s, retired, and like many readers of my 'Baby Boom' generation fighting for renewed recognition of the interests and values of my contemporaries. I worry about the future of our planet. With the increasing life expectancy of my generation, I try hard to keep my mind and body active. I try to give something back to my community, and I write books of my own.
The name 'Autumn Chickens' was inspired by a blog post entitled 'Age Matters in Romantic Fiction' written by fellow 'later life' author Anne Stormont. Anne writes about the struggle to persuade mainstream publishers to take books with older protaganists seriously. She also describes herself as 'more of an autumn chicken than a spring one.' I loved the phrase so much that I asked if I could borrow it. Thank you so much, Anne, for providing the inspiration for the title of this website. You can find out more about Anne's novels here.
Claire Baldry (author, website creator and editor)