Former publisher and managing director of Exclusive Books, Stephen Johnson has died.

A former colleague who did not want to be named because he was not appointed to speak on behalf of the family, said that Johnson died on Tuesday.

“I can’t say I knew him very well because I only worked with for a few months before he left. He was a great man. I don’t know his cause of death but am aware that he has died,” he said.

According to News24’s sister website Netwerk24, Johnson lived in Greenpoint in Cape Town and had worked in the publishing industry for over 40 years. He published books by George Bizos, Antjie Krog, Ivan Vladislavic, David Goldblatt and Andre P. Brink.

Author Mike Nicol tweeted that there were books that he would not have written if it was not for Johnson. He described him as a writer’s publisher.

RIP Stephen Johnson: there are books I would not have written had it not been for Stephen. Books I would not have edited. We might have initially disagreed about my first crime novel, Payback, but after that he was a staunch supporter. He was a writer’s publisher.

When he left his position after the two houses became one, publisher Frederick de Jager described him as one of the last “gentlemen publishers”.
Johnson published two of Antjie Krog’s books. She described him as a publishers dream, saying that he could quickly determine if a script worked or not.

According to Netwerk24, Johnson is survived by his two daughters Audrey and Nadia.