Ghost Boy. Emily Hughes

Emily Hughes studied English and German Literature at Warwick University and has an MA in Photography and Urban Cultures from Goldsmith’s College, University of London. She was inspired to start writing Ghost Boy, after many years of experience teaching in schools, working with young people with special needs, and following her own son’s diagnosis. Ghost Boy was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award and the Peggy Chapman Award for a First Novel.

Ghost Boy – Extract

“You were too soon. Too much, even then. Ready, and not ready to meet the world, you hurtled headlong into it at breakneck speed. You were an entonox daze. An oxytocin-fuelled rush.” 


Ghost Boy is a novel about a family coping in difficult circumstances. The primary relationship is between Rex, a boy with autism and his mother, Suzy. Rex is often funny, always original: his awkward interactions with the world are very relatable. Suzy’s fierceness and protectiveness is also rather wonderfully drawn. (There were times I had to stop and take a moment.) The novel is very good on the symbiotic relationship between a mother and son and how a mother is undone by pregnancy and must remake herself all over again. Suzy may be overprotective: she may be part of the problem.

This is an ambitious literary novel that recasts the world with fresh eyes. It captures the sometimes intense, visceral experience of motherhood, the subjective push and pull of family dynamics and well as recognising how easily vulnerable people can be pushed to the margins.

The job of the mentor was to reflect the novel back at Emily and provide a space for her to make an informed decision about how best to hone the material.

Her mentor was Marion Urch. 

“A heartbreakingly beautiful novel, filled with dark humour and high emotion, underscored by the constant beat of Rex’s drumming and his crazy ‘wild-jerk’ rhythm.”

Charlotte Robertson

Robertson Murray Literary Agency

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