Born: Established: 24 Jul 1951 Parramatta ;
Considered to be one of Australia's leading writers of horror, Robert Maxwell Hood was initially raised in Rydalmere, before moving with his family to Sydney's Northern Beaches in the 1960s. After receiving his education at Rydalmere Primary School, Collaroy Plateau Primary School, and Narrabeen Boys' High School, Hood undertook tertiary studies at Macquarie University between 1970 and 1977. He eventually graduated with a Dip. Ed., a B.A., and an M.A. (Honours) in English Literature: his final thesis examined monster imagery in the works of William Blake. While still a student, Hood wrote a story about a madman taking over the world and, with encouragement from his tutor Thea Astley (q.v.), successfully submitted it to ABC Radio. His first professional sale, 'Caesar or Nothing,' was broadcast by the ABC on 8 February 1975. That same year, he also he won the Canberra Times (q.v.) National Short Story competition. Despite this early promise, Hood did not begin to write and sell stories regularly for another ten years, largely due to his commitments as school teacher during that period.
After leaving the teaching profession, Hood undertook a variety of career options, including radio comedy writer for Sydney station 2SM, on-air comedy radio presenter for Wollongong station 2-Double-O (1985), journalist for the Liverpool Leader (1985-1987), and editorial cartoonist with the same newspaper (1987-96). From 1987 onwards, he has been associated with the University of Wollongong, as a research assistant on the subjects of Australian political and social history (1987-91), as a casual tutor in the School of Creative Arts (1989-94), and as a publications co-ordinator and graphic designer for the Economics Department/Faculty of Commerce (since 1991). Hood has also been employed in various freelance editorial positions since 1988, including acting editor of SCARP magazine (q.v., 1989-90).
It is for his writing, however, that Hood is best known around Australia. While Steven Paulsen and Sean McMullen (qq.v.) note that he is recognised primarily for his 'well-crafted horror short stories,' Hood has often explored related genres such as crime, science fiction, and fantasy. To date, he has published more than a hundred short works of fiction in leading magazines, newspapers, major anthologies, and literary journals in Australia and overseas, including Southerly, Mattoid, Puffinalia, and the Weekend Australian. Hood's creative output also covers drama, children's literature, literary criticism, and co-write several English textbooks.
Since the late 1980s, Hood has been nominated for or won a number of prestigious awards, beginning with the 1988 Australian Golden Dagger Award (mystery short stories) for 'Dead End'. He has since been nominated for the Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story on two occasions: for 'That Old Black Graffiti' (2001) and for 'Rotten Times' (2002). He has received six Ditmar nominations for his short fiction: for 'Ground Underfoot' and 'Primal Etiquette' (2000), 'That Old Black Graffiti (2001), 'Rotten Times' (2002), 'Moments of Dying' (2009), and 'Creeping in Reptile Flesh' (2009). He has also won three Ditmar Awards: the Collected Work Award for Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales (2006); the Fan Writer Award for film reviews published on his website (2007), and the Fan Writer Award for his blog Undead Backbrain (2009). Hood also won the 2006 William Atheling Jr Award for criticism or review with 'Divided Kingdom: King Kong vs Godzilla' (published in King Kong Is Back!, 2005) and in 2009 was shortlisted for the same award for his article 'George A. Romero: Master of the Living Dead' (published in Black: Australian Dark Culture Magazine 2, 2008).