Johannes Daniel (John) Miles was born on 1 August 1938 in Port Elizabeth. He matriculated at Erasmus High School in Bronkhorstpruit. He obtained an MA degree in sociology at the University of Pretoria, and later also obtained an honours degree in Afrikaans. John became a lecturer in Afrikaans language at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg and from 1967 he was attached to the Department of Afrikaans and Nederlands at the University of the Witwatersrand for a long period of time.
His first poems appeared in 1963 in Standpunte, and one poem appeared in DJ Opperman and Le Roux's Stiebeuel 2 of 1965. He made his debut in 1970 with the collection of short stories Liefs nie op straat nie. In 1991 Kroniek uit die doofpot was released and awarded the M-Net, CNA and Helgaard Steyn Prizes.
Since his retirement in 1998 he has lived on a farm, Katstaartlaagte, near Nieuwoudtville. He farms with rooibos tea, olive trees and buchu.
Did you know?
John is co-founder of Taurus, the Afrikaans publishing house established in the 1970s in order to publish books that the mainstream publishing houses were not willing to issue due to the Publications Act. The other founding members were Ampie Coetzee and Ernst Lindenberg. André P. Brink's 'n Oomblik in die wind was one of the first books that they published.
In 1978 his satirical novel Donderdag of Woensdag was banned by a committee of publications. In 1983 the ban was lifted.
Taurus published John's book Stanley Bekker en die boikot in 1980, and it became the first Afrikaans children's book to be banned. This children's book, told from the perspective of a coloured boy experiencing the discrimination of apartheid, was pronounced prohibited reading matter.
In 1997 Kroniek uit die doofpot was translated into English as Deafening Silence and the latter was reworked as a miniseries for television.
Kroniek uit die doofpot, Human & Rousseau (2005)
Voetstoots, Human & Rousseau (2005)
CNA Prize (1992) – Kroniek uit die doofpot
M-Net Prize (1992) – Kroniek uit die doofpot
Helgaard Steyn Prize (1992) – Kroniek uit die doofpot
List of titles
1970 Liefs nie op straat nie, Buren Uitgewers
1973 Okker bestel twee toebroodjies, Buren Uitgewers
1978 Donderdag of Woensdag, Taurus
1983 Blaaskans – die bewegings van Flip Nel, Taurus
1991 Kroniek uit die doofpot, Taurus
2003 Die buiteveld, Human & Rousseau
2009 Voetstoots, Human & Rousseau
1980 Stanley Bekker en die boikot, Taurus
Kroniek uit die doofpot (1991)
English (Deafening Silence, 1997) and Dutch (1992)