The Walrus Books

The Age of Creativity

Art, Memory, My Father, and Me

Written by Emily Urquhart

Published September 01, 2020 | ISBN 9781487005313
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs

Cover of The Age of Creativity

Regular price $22.95 CAD

232 pages | 8.5 in × 5.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

The Age of Creativity

Art, Memory, My Father, and Me

Emily Urquhart

A moving portrait of a father and daughter relationship and a case for late-stage creativity from Emily Urquhart, the bestselling author of Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes.

“The fundamental misunderstanding of our time is that we belong to one age group or another. We all grow old. There is no us and them. There was only ever an us.” — from The Age of Creativity

It has long been thought that artistic output declines in old age. When Emily Urquhart and her family celebrated the eightieth birthday of her father, the illustrious painter Tony Urquhart, she found it remarkable that, although his pace had slowed, he was continuing his daily art practice of drawing, painting, and constructing large-scale sculptures, and was even innovating his style. Was he defying the odds, or is it possible that some assumptions about the elderly are flat-out wrong? After all, many well-known visual artists completed their best work in the last decade of their lives, Turner, Monet, and Cézanne among them. With the eye of a memoirist and the curiosity of a journalist, Urquhart began an investigation into late-stage creativity, asking: Is it possible that our best work is ahead of us? Is there an expiry date on creativity? Do we ever really know when we’ve done anything for the last time?

The Age of Creativity is a graceful, intimate blend of research on ageing and creativity, including on progressive senior-led organizations, such as a home for elderly theatre performers and a gallery in New York City that only represents artists over sixty, and her experiences living and travelling with her father. Emily Urquhart reveals how creative work, both amateur and professional, sustains people in the third act of their lives, and tells a new story about the possibilities of elder-hood.

About the Author

Emily Urquhart

EMILY URQUHART is a National Magazine Award–winning writer and has a doctorate in folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her first book, Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes, was a Maclean’s bestseller, a finalist for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, and a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2015. Her freelance writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, The Walrus Magazine, Longreads, the Rumpus, and Eighteen Bridges, among other publications. She is a nonfiction editor for the New Quarterly and teaches creative nonfiction at Wilfrid Laurier University. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, with her husband and their two children.