Who Was Your First Hero, Jonathan Miles?


My first hero, if we’re sticking to chronology, was probably Ozzie Newsome, the NFL Hall of Fame tight end for the Cleveland Browns in the late-’70s/’80s. A few years ago one of my sisters dug out a copy of a letter I wrote to him, seeking advice on how to deal with schoolyard bullies. A more pertinent early hero, however, was the science-fiction author Isaac Asimov, whose books -- my God, he must’ve written hundreds -– I devoured as a child. I wrote to Asimov, too, this time seeking advice on how a kid might grow up to be a writer. Asimov, unlike Ozzie Newsome, wrote me back, and his terrifically simple counsel -– to read as much as possible, and to practice writing as much as possible -– still stands as the best and most concise advice on writing I’ve ever heard. Read, write, repeat. Everything else is just details.

Jonathan Miles‘s latest book, WANT NOT came out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in November 2013. “Well, I loved this book,” raved Dave Eggers in the New York Times Book Review, “Jonathan Miles can write, and here he’s written a wonderful book, and there’s no one I would not urge to read it.” Jonny’s first novel, DEAR AMERICAN AIRLINES, was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. A former columnist for the New York Times, he serves as a contributing editor to magazines as diverse as Field & Stream and Details. A former longtime resident of Oxford, Mississippi, he currently lives with his family in rural New Jersey. Jonathan is reading from his newest book, Want Not, At University Books on MONDAY NOVEMBER 18 at 7:00PM. More info can be found here