On the inheritance of talent

Can literary talent be inherited? This article at the BBC looks at three examples of mother-to-daughter blood-based transmission of poverty and heartache writing as a career choice. Obviously its mostly kids learning these future-crippling behaviours from their parents. My son, 17, is also currently engaged in writing a fantasy novel in his spare time (which is whenever the options of video games, socially-distanced picnics with friends, and making sandwiches at odd hours have been exhausted). Will it be any good? Who knows. The ideas are good, for sure. Over time, if he sticks with writing and reading he’ll get better at the writing part. I am a decent writer, but that’s partly because I have some talent and partly because I put in 25 years at it. He perhaps could have inherited an artistic eye (though I think that’s learned as well), but the rest he’ll have to make up on his own if he wants to go follow this inadvisable career path calling.

from BBC

The art of novel writing isn’t often a family business. The combination of talent and perseverance required, plus the good fortune to be published, are rare indeed. Even rarer are literary generations of mothers and daughters. But there are three notable pairs of mother-daughter novelists throughout literary history who share the gift of language and the same storytelling talent – and suggest that talent can be inherited, either through natural ability or through careful nurturing. An author mother can be a path opener or a role model for her daughter, or both, and help shape her literary destiny.

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