Jonathan Miles (novelist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jonathan Miles
Born (1971-01-28) January 28, 1971 (age 46)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Writer
Citizenship United States
Education University of Mississippi
Genre Fiction, Nonfiction
Notable works Dear American Airlines

Jonathan Miles (born January 28, 1971) is an American journalist and novelist. His debut novel, Dear American Airlines, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2008. The novel, written in the form of a complaint letter to the titular airline, was reviewed by Richard Russo in The New York Times Book Review.[1] His second novel, Want Not, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013.

Early life[edit]

Jonathan Miles was born in Cleveland, Ohio; his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, but Miles ran away when he was 17, moving to Oxford, Mississippi, eventually attending the University of Mississippi and taking a writing class with Barry Hannah.[2] Finding work as a newspaper reporter and aspiring jazz musician, Miles met novelist Larry Brown. The two became friends, and while Miles didn't graduate "Ole Miss", Brown taught and encouraged Miles to write: "It was an astonishing education. Some people go to the Iowa Writer's Workshop. I had Larry."[3]

Literary career[edit]

While Miles never studied journalism in college, his work soon found publication in a local literary magazine, the Oxford American, and he continued to contribute essays and critique for several years. A friend suggested Miles apply as a reporter for The Oxford Eagle, and while the pay wasn't good, being forced to churn out daily copy gradually improved his ability to write more dispassionately about complex and emotional subjects.[2] Miles claims he was fired by the paper years later for writing an obituary about a subject who had admitted regularly providing bootlegged liquor to noted Oxford resident William Faulkner and correctly reporting the fact.[2]

Fortunately, Miles's writing caught the eye of Esquire editor Will Blythe, who published an account Miles wrote of an ingenious prison escape he'd investigated while writing for the Oxford paper. Miles soon developed a reputation as a keen observer of Mississippi culture, selling essays to Food & Wine, Men's Journal and The New York Times Magazine.[2] He credits his early literary voice to his time in Oxford, Mississippi, but when Men's Journal offered him an annual contract Miles was already driving a moving van toward New York City in search of such an opportunity.[2]

Miles's novel Dear American Airlines received the following honors:

  • The New York Times Book Review 100 notable books of 2008[4] (one of seven debut novels to be included[5])
  • The Wall Street Journal dozen "most memorable" books of 2008[6]
  • Los Angeles Times favorite books of 2008[7]
  • top 50 editors' picks for 2008 (#27)[8]
  • A.V. Club favorite books of 2008[9]



  1. ^ Russo, Richard (June 1, 2008). "Going Nowhere". The New York Times. New York, New York: The New York Times Corporation. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Ward, Steven (September 6, 2006). "Low Road to the High Glossies: An Interview with Freelance Writer Jonathan Miles". PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ Minzesheimer, Bob (May 30, 2008). "Reluctant flier Jonathan Miles takes a pen to (un)friendly skies". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ "100 notable books of 2008". The New York Times. December 4, 2008. 
  5. ^ Ina Hughs (December 28, 2008). "Hughs: Best books of 2008 – and more". Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ Mark Lasswell (December 26, 2008). "A Shelf of Standouts: On Pixar and Putin, the 'surge' and Chagall: The books that scored with our reviewers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Special Issue: Favorite Books 2008: Fiction and Poetry". Los Angeles Times. December 7, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Best Books of 2008". Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Our favorite books of 2008". A.V. Club. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]