Hughes, John 1961-

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HUGHES, John 1961-


Born 1961, in Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia. Education: Newcastle University, B.A.; University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, Ph.D.


Home—Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Office—Sydney Grammar School, College St., Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales 2010, Australia.


University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia, former instructor; Sydney Grammar School, Sydney, New South Wales, English teacher and librarian, 1999—.


Douglas Stewart Prize, New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, 2005, and National Biography Award, 2006, both for The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays.


The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays, Giramondo Publishing (Artarmon, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including Heat.


The writing debut of Australian John Hughes, The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays, is an award-winning collection inspired by Hughes's family history. Hughes was born in a coal-mining town, the son of a father of Welsh descent and a mother whose parents fled the Ukraine during World War II. Her parents walked across Europe to Naples with her and three other children, beginning in 1941, and arriving in Italy in 1945. They later sailed to Australia in 1949. The Idea of Home, which was written over ten years, contains the tales of his maternal grandfather and reflections on how the family's struggles affected Hughes from childhood to adulthood. He describes his grandfather's attempt to become an authentic Australian as he worked with the miners and played his accordion in the bars of Cessnock. Hughes's own father is not mentioned until the third essay.

The five essays in this volume study memory in a manner that is particularly relevant to the immigrant experience. They are titled "An Essay of Forgetting," "My Mother's House," "Country Towns," "A Life in Letters," and "A Walk through Eastern Europe." The last essay is a discussion of Hughes's favorite works of fiction, including those by authors Tolstoy, Nabokov, and Dostoyevsky. Charles W. Arnade reviewed The Idea of Home in Antipodes, commenting: "I have hardly ever read a book that has so adroitly fused autobiography with literary criticism. This book is highly recommended, but especially to everyone whose parents or grandparents were immigrants."



Hughes, John, The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays, Giramondo Publishing (Artarmon, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.


Antipodes, December, 2005, Charles W. Arnade, review of The Idea of Home, p. 229.


Giramondo Publishing Web site, (September 12, 2006), brief biography of John Hughes.

Sydney Morning Herald Online, (May 24, 2005), Angela Bennie, "Ten-Year Walk down Memory Lane Brings Home the Bacon."