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Mike Johnson is a celebrated novelist and poet who has lived on Waiheke since 1982. An article on the New Zealand Book Council website has this to say of his writing:
- 'His prose can be described in terms of magic realism, though with a distinctive science fiction component, influenced by such US writers as Philip K. Dick and Barry M. Maltzberg, and with idiosyncratic Gothic elements.'
In 1986 he published his first novel, Lear—The Shakespeare Company Plays Lear at Babylon, which the following year was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards. It was followed by Anti Body Positive (1987), Foreigners: Three Novellas (1991), Lethal Dose (1991) and Dumb Show (1996).
His poetry collections began in 1983 with The Palanquin Ropes (1983). From a Woman in Mount Eden Prison and Drawing Lessons were both released in 1984), followed by Standing Wave in 1985 and Treasure Hunt in 1996.
He has taught at schools and universities, and was the University of Canterbury Literary Fellow in 1987. He teaches (2010) creative writing at both the University of Auckland and AUT University. He lives on the island with his wife Leila Lees. Their daughter Sophia Johnson attended Waiheke High School where she was a standout student.