Herman Charles Bosman (1905-1951) was born near Cape Town to an Afrikaner family, but was fluent in both English and his mother tongue. He started writing short stories while at school in Johannesburg, and later became a teacher in the western Transvaal. Intrigued by that region and its characters, Bosman based most of his writings thereafter on his experiences at that time. In June 1926, after an argument at his family home in Johannesburg, he shot and killed his stepbrother. Convicted of murder, he was sentenced to death. This was later reduced to ten years with hard labour, but he was released on parole after five years. His prison experiences formed the basis for his semi-autobiographical book, Cold Stone Jug. After his release, he earned a living by running his own printing company and working as a journalist in Britain and South Africa before his death from a suspected heart attack.