John Hughes was born in Cessnock, in the Hunter Valley of NSW, and educated at the Universities of Newcastle and Cambridge, and the University of Technology, Sydney. His first book, The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays, won both the National Biography Award and the NSW Premier’s Award for Non Fiction. He is the librarian at Sydney Grammar School.
206 pages Paperback, 19.7 x 13.4 cm Published July 2007 ISBN 9781920882259
In Someone Else award-winning essayist John Hughes pays homage to twenty one artists, writers and musicians who have had a formative influence on his imagination.
From Chekhov and Borges and Beckett, to Proust, Rothko and Cage – each essay brings its subject to life in unexpected ways. Kafka rewrites the parable of Abraham and Isaac, with no one to stay Abraham’s knife. Wittgenstein considers the relationship between turtles and time. Bob Dylan stars in a fantasy of travellers and deserts and women with knives and silver earrings. Just around the corner from where Hughes works, Dostoyevsky fries kidneys in the kitchen of his Stanley Street terrace…
Like The Idea of Home, Someone Else uses the essay as a form of autobiography. Here, however, the essays are fictions. Or are they? Hughes tells the stories of the figures who live in his mind by making them tell his stories – and in doing so engages in an art of literary ventriloquism.
207 pages Paperback, 19.6 x 13.5 cm Published November 2004 ISBN 1920882049
In The Idea of Home John Hughes writes about growing up in the Hunter Valley coal-mining town of Cessnock, in a household dominated by memories of the Ukraine, which his mother and grandparents were forced to flee during the Second World War.