David Hughes Shakespeare´s Othello
Shakespeare´s play told in words and
an english masterpiece coming from overseas
[The making of Othello]
proud to to present to you one of the most exciting books published in recent years.
Drawings and words by David Hughes, ©1998 David
Hughes, Published 1998 by Alibaba Verlag, Designed by The Chase (Manchester) with David
Hughes (Stockport), Repro by L&S Reprotechnik, Siezenheim (Austria), Printed by
Grafiche AZ, S. Martino B.A. (Verona), Printed in Italy, ISBN 3-860 42-999-X,,00 $, inclusive airmail delivery
64 pages, full colour, hardcover, format 33,5 x 29,8
Retailer's Price: 30
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Normally a story like Shakespeare´s Othello is published with illustrations as an extra.
Normally the drawings and paintings of an imprtant
artist are collected in a book because of an exibition, an aniversery or because he/she
has recently died.
In David Hughes´ Othello he uses his skills
as a visual artist to tell the story - like Verdi used his art to tell his version of the
We would be very happy if you gave this book a
chance in your bookshop.
We are an official Watersone/Dillons supplier and
our supplier´s account number is: 16 31 24
Frankenpost: This is the Othello for the
Hughes lives in Maples, Stockport, Manchester.
He illustrated three picture books for children, two of them for Walker: "Bully"
(also text / for which he revceived the German Literaure for Children Award) and
"Strat and Chatto" (illustrations only / 1990 (1989?) Mother Goose Award).
1996 Alibaba published his third picture book "Little
Robert". This was selected by the Association of Illustrators 1997 for Image 22
and exibited at the Royal College of Art and on tour. This book never was published in
David worked / works for The Evening Standard, The Observer, Times Magazine, Washington
Post, The New Yorker, Channel 4. He created stage design (1993 and 1998) for two opera
productions at Spoleto.
Cover illustrations I have seen David's art on books by Faber and Faber and Picador.
Quotations from german reviews:
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: German readers of this book
will easily become jealous, because there is a nation which after four hundred years has
an illustrator, great enough to match the greatest playwright.
Elle: David Hughes has a mind that matches Shakespeare's in
many ways. His creations are taken from true life, they are so real that there was no
english publisher for this book. In a way this is like a knighthood.
Süddeutsche Zeitung: A work of genius seducing all senses.
"I do not understand people who do not drink", David Hughes says. After looking
at his book we do understand him, and a lot about this world.
Der Spiegel: This production - because it takes Shakespeare
seriously - is crude, violent and beautiful, a terrific version of "Othello".
ZDF Second German National Television: A wonderful
masterpiece, different but as good as the play.
Facts, Swiss News Magazine: The ingenious
artist translated the play into his very own language of images.
We first met David Hughes in 1994. Walker Books had
published his children's book »Bully« which we were to publish in Germany. Because of
the subject of the book, violence among children, we invited David to introduce »Bully«
to our sales people. In 1995 we met again because David had received the one and only
german Award for children´s literature for »Bully«.
We wanted to publish more of his books, but there were
none. He was full of ideas but could not find a british publisher for his picture books
We did not give up easily and offered to become his original publisher. In 1996 we
published David's picture book »Little Robert« Neither he nore us could find a british
(or american) publisher for a book which was praised by the german reviewers as "not
only a book for children but a piece of art as well."
In 1996 we also published a version of Kafka's »Report for an Academy« with full colour
pictures by the italian painter Andrea Di Gennaro. This book was not only a huge success
with the media, it also sold very well.
We wanted to continue publishing picture books with well
known stories for an adult readership (You may compare this to taking a piece of prose and
transform this into a movie / a ballet / an opera = by using a different artistic language
it becomes a work of its own).
And we wanted to continue working with David Hughes. Since
there is hardly any money in picture books for children, especially when neither artist
nor originating publisher can expect international coproductions, it seem to be a natural
idea to suggest an "adult" picture book to David because he was / is good enough
for any kind of readership.
He and us should use the chance not only to produce a wonderful book but also to make some
money with it. There was a story which fitted his style and character: Othello.
I suggested this to him on the phone and I must have sounded quite convincing. I told
David how much money Andrea Di Gennaro earned from the Kafka book, but I also told him,
why I thought »Othello« is the perfect story for him.
It was still 1996 when the contract was signed and David started working.
He himself has written beautifully about the creation of the book so there is little to
add to this:
We met on several occasions in London.
The drawings and paintings came before any text.
All drawings used in the book are first drafts. None was re-drawn, colours were added to
most of them otherwise they remained unchanged.
The number of original drawings which David did not include in the book is very very
The style, the size of the book, the number of drawings, all these are entirely David's
David wrote the complete text. As far as I known he had never done this before, except for
two children's picture books.
In the beginning of 1998 David suggested that we should work with designers, we agreed and
he asked the people at The Chase in Manchester. They agreed most willingly and did a very
»Othello« is the most ambitious project we ever started (maybe with this one exception:
Eight years ago we published a book containing interviews with jewish Concentration Camp
survivors who lived / still live in Germany. This book is yet untranslated) and it was
important for us that we knew from a very early stage that there would be a book club
edition and media coverage by DER SPIEGEL and national television.
And the original english edition? We tried to convince
many british publishing houses to dare an english edition. None of them wanted to do this.
You can distinguish two groups:
a) the bluntly disinterested ones (the huge majority)
b) a much smaller group of those who glimpsed at the artwork and said "This is very
good but not our style".
I will never forget the young editor at Faber and Faber
who told us that they were not publishing comics and I should ask for advice from the
comics book shop next to the British Museum.
Distribution: We approached Art Data and Turnaround. This was weeks ago and even after
frequent telephone calls from Frankfurt we could not get any kind of answer from them (My
assistant will call you tomorrow / We need one more week /never a call or a letter or a
fax from them).
This is why we published the original english version. And this is why we had to organize