Deadline for submissions: December 31, 2017
Full name/name of organization: Timothy Shary and Frances Smith
Contact email:


CFP: The Films of John Hughes (Refocus Series)

Series Editors: Gary D Rhodes, Robert Singer

Editors: Timothy Shary, Frances Smith

The films of writer, director, and producer, John Hughes, have enjoyed popular and critical success. With Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), Weird Science (1985), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), and Pretty in Pink (1986), Hughes portrayed mercurial suburban adolescence in America. In doing so, he was responsible for bringing to the fore a whole new troupe of actors, dubbed The Brat Pack, which included Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick, Emilio Estevez, and Andrew McCarthy. Despite the lasting success of Hughes’ teen output, it was his move into mainstream comedy that secured his greatest commercial successes with hits like Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Uncle Buck (1989), Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990), and 101 Dalmatians (Stephen Herek, 1996).

Since Hughes’ death in 2009, there has been a growing appreciation of his work, and particularly of his teen output. Contemporary nostalgia for the 1980s has played a role, in works such as Easy A (Will Gluck, 2010), Pitch Perfect (Jason Moore, 2012), The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig, 2016), and Permanent (Collette Burson, 2017). Yet Hughes also deserves to be considered as an independent filmmaker, who eschewed the calls of Hollywood to film in his native Midwest (particularly Chicago). To be sure, Hughes’ films remain relevant and are well remembered. However, despite his popular appreciation and the sporadic commentary about his movies, there has to date been no scholarly volume dedicated to the discussion of his work as a whole.

This anthology seeks to address this gap in scholarship, and will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2019 as part of the Refocus series, which has included books on Amy Heckerling, Delmer Daves, and Preston Sturges. Edited by Dr. Gary D Rhodes and Dr. Robert Singer, this series is dedicated to examining the work of overlooked filmmakers. We are seeking proposals of 500 words, plus a biography of 100 words, for essays to be included in the book. Completed essays should be between 6500 and 8000 words and follow the Chicago endnote referencing style. We are open to proposals on all aspects of John Hughes’ work. Essays may focus on individual works, or on recurrent themes throughout his oeuvre.

Contributions are particularly welcome, but by no means limited to, the following areas:

• Hughes and teen cinema

• The American family in Hughes’ films

• His early work for National Lampoon movies and TV shows (1979-1985)

• Analysis of individual films (1980-2008)

• Gender and teen comedy

• Topics of class, race, sexuality, or gender across Hughes’ films

• Analyses of individual star performances in his films, e.g.: John Candy, Macaulay Culkin, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall

• Hughes’ eight films as director (1984-1991)

• The aesthetic style of Hughes’ work, as writer and/or director

• Hughes as Hollywood producer of family comedies, e.g.: She’s Having a Baby (1988), Dutch (1991), Dennis the Menace (1993), Flubber (1997)

• Midwest geography and culture in his stories

• Use of music in his films, particularly pop hits

• His writing as alter ego Edmond Dantés, including Beethoven (1992), Maid in Manhattan (2002), and Drillbit Taylor (2008)

• Anything connecting his essentially secluded personal life to his work

Proposals should be sent to by December 31, 2017. Both editors will review all proposals and respond by January 31, 2018. If successful, essays will need to be completed by September 30, 2018. Please send any enquiries to