99 Year-Old Poet Becomes Bestseller

There are many writers who have found literary fame late in life. None, however, can match the late-career bloom that is Toyo Shibata. At the age of 99, she’s become one of Japan’s bestselling authors. What’s more, Reuters reports, she’s only been writing for the past 7 years, since back pain forced her to abandon her previous love, dancing.

Toyo Shibata was one of Japan’s top ten bestselling authors in 2010. With sales boosted by the screening of a television documentary on the poet last week, there are currently 1.5 million copies of her books in print, in a country where poetry collections only need to sell 10,000 copies to be deemed a success. Toyo Shibata plans to publish another collection of poems for her hundredth birthday in June.

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