Andrew Miller (1974-)is a Joburg based poet and writer. He is the author of Dub Steps, which won the 2015 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award (previously the EU Literary Award) and was longlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. He performs and lectures on various South African stages and contributes to magazines, on a freelance basis, across the spectrum.
Andrew graduated from the the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) in 1995 with a BA in English and Political Science. He has worked as a full time freelance writer since 1998, specialising in commercial ghost writing and the development of corporate narratives.
Together with his wife, Robyn Field, Andrew ran Unity Gallery in the city of Joburg between 2003 - 2013. Unity Gallery was a privately funded, socially orientated creative space that offered a wide range of career development services to emerging city fine artists, craft artists, poets, journalists and designers. Within this context, Andrew has worked with many young Joburg artists and creatives in the development of their careers, with a focus on critical thinking, narrative development and the effective use of Public Relations.
As a performance poet, Andrew has appeared on different stages, from the Joburg spoken word scene to the WITS Business School, the Daily Maverick Gatherings and various corporate events. His performances feature a mix of personal storytelling, political commentary and poetry.
Prior to winning the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award in 2015, Andrew published an anthology of poetry, Hinsta's Ghost (2007) and a collection of essays, Getting Up: Thoughts on Falling (2008). His poetry was described by the The Independent as “an important contribution to the national conscience, as well as to literature.”
Andrew is currently working on [Sic] - a novel about grammar, domestic servitude and social conflict.
Extract from Dub Steps (2014):
I am an old man on a hill, and my regrets are generic. To the extent that death can surprise, this has been it. It shouldn't be a shock, but there you go.
I regret, most of all, my shrivelled heart. So focused on the numbers. On the maths of my personal equation. Can a man change his heart? Are there ways to improve the spirit of who you are? Of why you choose? It would be nice to think so. But me, now, I am simply ambient. I must be. Into this air I shall shortly slip. The solvent is this running, jagged brain, all angles and contusions, breaks and falls. The surface shines. Teflon. I slip back, and back, into my stories, ideas of her. Whoever she is now, her, the love I refused. Me, angry little peanut.
I should have loved harder. Generic.
I refused to let go. Generic.
I think I will miss the birds, the weavers most of all, but all of them really (the worker birds, more than the exotic. The mynas and the barbets and the robins. The boys on the rush, building and moving, private and fast and swooping). Generic.
Blue sky. It starts to taste like something as you get really old. Something powerful. You open your sagging mouth and let the blue pour in. It's fresh and light and it bubbles like an advert. Generic.
I remember a time on the beach. Well, not really a memory. Just the brush stroke of us, down the shoreline. She took my hand. Gave me hers. It was some kind of gift. A human transmission. I flickered with a deeper recognition I couldn't place.
It all feels like that now. Transmission. Flickers.
It's all on the record, in the archive, on display at the expo. You know what I looked like. What I did. You have the details, the story and all of its bastard children. Still, I must bleat just once.
Look, I was a c**t. Maybe that's it. Maybe that's all I really want to say. I know it now. It's not a regret. You can't apportion blame - even to yourself. It's an observation. Age makes it easier to actually see. (Generic.)
A c**t on the move. A c**t with intentions. A c**t who cried at his own pain, paper cuts and marriage, it never mattered. I lived filled with tears.
So, there it is. That you are reading this, whoever you are, wherever you are, is enough. I have spoken. You have heard.
The rest is up to you.
2007. Hintsa's Ghost. Johannesburg: Ge'Ko Publishing.
2008. Getting up: thoughts of falling. Johannesburg: Ge'Ko Publishing.
2015. Dub Steps. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.