John Eppel is a Zimbabwean novelist, poet, short story writer, and English teacher. He has taught English language and literature in secondary schools for 50 years. Eppel has also served as the president of the Zimbabwe Writers Union.
John Eppel was born in South Africa but grew up in Zimbabwe.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History at the University of Rhodesia in the 1960s and later earned a MA degree in English. Eppel also completed a postgraduate diploma in Education at the University of Cape Town.
Throughout his career, Eppel has been involved in teaching and has taught at various educational institutions in Zimbabwe, including Churchill Boys High School in Harare and the University of Zimbabwe.
In 1987 College Press in Zimbabwe published John Eppel's literature debut, a collection of poems titled The Spoils of War. The book explores various themes related to the experiences of war and post-war life in Zimbabwe, drawing on his experiences growing up during the Rhodesian Bush War.
His first novel, D.G.G. Berry's The Great North Road" (1992), 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.
The 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.
John Eppel is known for his satirical writing and often explores themes related to politics and social issues in Zimbabwe. He has published several novels, including 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, and Landlocked, a winner of the international Poetry Business prize in 2015/16, judged by Billy Collins, and Pressed Flowers, Poems of Resistance.
Also, he has collaborated with Philani Amadeus Nyoni in a collection called Hewn From Rock and with Togara Muzanenhamo in a book called Textures, which won the 2016 NOMA award for Outstanding Fiction Work.
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 Jasmine was the Poem of the Week in the Guardian. New Internationalist has chosen his poem Vendor and Child for their collection Fire in the Soul, the best 100 human rights poems worldwide over the last 100 years.
Now John Eppel is retired and still lives in Zimbabwe.