John Foster was born in Melbourne in 1944. He studied at the University of Melbourne, then in Germany and the United Kingdom. In 1971 he returned to the University of Melbourne, where for many years he lectured in the Department of History. He edited the collections Community of Fate: Memoirs of German Jews in Melbourne (1986) and Victorian Picturesque: The Colonial Gardens of William Sangster (1989).
Take Me to Paris, Johnny was Foster’s tribute to his lover, Juan Céspedes, a Cuban dancer who died of AIDS in 1987. The memoir was published in 1993 and shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year award; within a year, John Foster himself was dead.