Carole Angier

Age-Banding Biography

Whenever I talk to people about biography (which is as often as they will let me), they always say roughly the same thing. ‘When I was young, I never read biography – it was fiction, fiction, fiction. But not any more. I don’t know if it’s fiction that’s changed or me, but all I want to read now is biography.’

Biographers shouldn’t use anecdotal evidence. But though my sample is small, its direction is overwhelmingly one-way. I stand by my findings, therefore. Young readers prefer fiction to biography; but as they get older, their preference reverses. 

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