Jon Doust was once big name in Western Australia. Well, his name wasn’t, and isn’t, that big, with only eight letters to it, but when he hit a presentation floor, things around him diminished. That, and his overactive sense of humour and the ridiculous, was why he was in demand. So he says.
Jon comes from an old WA family, steeped in the stories he’s gathered along the way and those handed down to him by his story telling grandfather, Roy Doust.
His first adult novel, Boy on a Wire (Fremantle Press), published in 2009, required a re-print before December and was then long-listed for the 2010 Miles Franklin, Australia’s most prestigious literary award, along with such notable Australian writers as Thomas Kenneally, Craig Silvey, Alex Miller, Sonya Hartnet, Peter Carey and the eventual winner, Peter Temple. It was then reprinted in 2019, with an entirely new cover. And he thought that only happened to the big names.
Since then, two more: To the Highlands and Return Ticket. The final novel completing his trilogy – One Boys Journey to Man. Both were written in Noongar Manang Boodje, Great South West of Western Australia, a place that nurtures him, sustains him, and where his spiritual brothers and sisters hold him.
Since that first novel Jon has been in demand at literary festivals, schools, book clubs, libraries, bus stops and coffee shops.
Once, a long time ago, he was a regular on the conference circuit, speaking on a wide range of subjects, from Jungian psychological theory, the value of humour as a stress reliever, to leadership and community development. Those days are gone, given his age and weak knees.
Jon has been responsible for starting a range of organisations and events. These include one of Australia’s longest running comedy rooms, Perth’s Laugh Resort; the Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Championship and the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival; Albany’s Sock Fence; and was one of the founding members of the WA branch of the Wilderness Society.
He was born in Bridgetown (Googilup) into a farming/retailing family and worked in both until he was old enough to know better. Outside the family business he was asked to leave jobs in banking, the media, retailing (again), farming (again) and comedy.
He also wrote a political satire – How to lose an election – based on his own losing experiences and co-written three children’s books – Magpie Mischief, Magwheel Madness and Kidnapped, with highly regard writer of young people’s fiction, Ken Spillman. Two almost received awards.
Jon has a BA English (Curtin University), is a member of the Jungian Society, the Australian Association for Psychological Type, Laugh Resort Inc, an association of stand-up comedians, Creative Albany, a creative community think tank based in WA’s first town and port, the Australian Society of Authors, the Wilderness Society, and the International Society for Humour Studies.