Until 1954 he used the given name Johannes Schmuul. He wrote several novels, often based on life in his native island. He also authored several travelogues.
His most famous is The Frozen Book (Jäine raamat), about a Soviet expedition to Antarctica.
Smuul also wrote four screenplays. They are:
Kirjad Sõgedate külast (1966)
Keskpäevane praam (1967)
Siin me oleme! (1979) (television)
He also worked in Soviet Estonian journalism.
He died in Tallinn. Smuul was named People"s Writer of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1965.
The State Prize of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic was named after him. The Smuul family home, Tooma farm, located in Koguva village is a museum.
Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics Union of Writers.