10 Great Literary Late Bloomers

It seems like the literary world is forever in awe of the young writers, the wunderkinds, the 20 under 40, the 5 under 35, the 30 under 30. It makes sense, of course — there’s something extra impressive about pulling off a great feat, literary or otherwise, when you’re young — but what about those authors who got started a little later in life? If you ask us, there’s something pretty impressive about that too. We recently discovered Bloom, a cool website dedicated to the discussion of writers who published their first major work at age 40 or later, and inspired, we decided to poke about a bit on the topic ourselves. You might be surprised at the late bloomers on our list — take a peek after the jump, and since there are many more out there, add to our, er, literary bouquet in the comments.

Charles Bukowski

Everyone’s favorite lowlife laureate actually started off pretty young — his first short story, “Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip,” was published in Story magazine when he was only 24 years old. Two years later, he published another, but he had become disillusioned with the whole process and quit writing for what he later referred to as a “ten year drunk.” In the late ’50s, he began to write poetry, and even published a few books of it with his friends, but it wasn’t until 1969, when Bukowski was 49, that publisher John Martin made him a major offer. Bukowski quit his post office job and published his first novel, Post Office, in 1971, 51 years old.