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John Eppel (Poet) Creative Flight Journal


Born in South Africa in 1947, John Eppel was raised in Zimbabwe, where he still lives.  His first novel, D G G Berry’s The Great North Road, won the M-Net prize and was listed in the Weekly Mail & Guardian as one of the best 20 South African books in English published between 1948 and 1994.  His second novel, Hatchings, was shortlisted for the M-Net prize and was chosen for the series in the Times Literary Supplement of the most significant books to have come out of Africa.   His other novels are The Giraffe Man, The Curse of the Ripe Tomato, The Holy Innocents, Absent: The English Teacher, Traffickings, and The Boy Who Loved Camping. His poetry collections include Spoils of War, which won the Ingrid Jonker prize, Sonata for Matabeleland, Selected Poems: 1965 – 1995, Songs My Country Taught Me, O Suburbia, Landlocked, a winner of the international Poetry Business prize, judged by Billy Collins, and Pressed Flowers, Poems of Resistance.    Furthermore he has collaborated with Philani Amadeus Nyoni  in a collection called Hewn From Rock, and with Togara Muzanenhamo in a collection called Textures, which won the 2016 NOMA award for ‘Outstanding Fiction Work’. He has published three collections of poetry and short stories: The Caruso of Colleen Bawn, White Man Crawling, and, in collaboration with the late Julius Chingono, Together (nominated for the Pushcart prize). Eppel’s short stories and poems have appeared in many anthologies, journals and websites, including six poems in the Penguin Anthology of South African Poetry.  His poem, ‘Vendor and Child’ was chosen by New Internationalist for their collection, Fire in the Soul, the best 100 human rights poems from across the world over the last 100 years.  His poem, ‘Jasmine’ was chosen as ‘Poem of the Week’ in the British Guardian Newspaper. In 2019 he was invited to participate in the African Writers’ Festival in Berlin. Eppel, now retired, has taught English language and literature in secondary schools for 50 years.