Born: Established: 1959 ;
Horror author, editor and bibliographer, Leigh Blackmore was educated at North Sydney Boys High School and later at Newcastle Boys' High School (now Callaghan College Technology Campus). During his high school days he read classic popular fiction by authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Leslie Charteri. He also began to read the works of fantasy authors such as Lin Carter, Michael Moorcock and Robert E. Howard, before developing a fascination with the horror genre - notably through the literary works of Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft and in horror movies (principally the 'Hammer horror' films produced by Hammer Film Productions between the 1950s and 1970s). This passion saw him co-found the Arcane Sciences Society and the Horror-Fantasy Society while at high school.
In the early 1980s Blackmore worked as an editorial assistant on The Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine and later co-edited Terror Australis: The Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine with Chris G.C. Sequeira and B.J. Stevens between 1987 and 1992. It was while undertaking tertiary studies (majoring in Semantic Studies) at Macquarie University and later Sydney University, however, that he developed an interest in black magic writers and practitioner, especially Aleister Crowley. After studying the works of Crowley extensively he became a practitioner of Thelema (the religious philosophy developed by Crowley) and subsequently joined the Australian Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). He was eventually ordained Deacon of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica and has since taken part in numerous Rites of Eleusis with the Australian O.T.O. His main occult interests include alchemy, Tarot, Qabalah, Hermetica, archaeoastronomy, Goetia, Kenneth Grant's Typhonian Order, the Zos Kia Cultus and Enochian. He has written columns on Magick and the occult for several specialist publications including Spellcraft magazine, Black Cauldron and Black: Australia's Dark Culture Magazine.
In the early 1990s Blackmore was involved with the anarchist scene which revolved around Jura Books in Sydney and participated in various culture-jamming operations staged by Thoughtcrimes (which had as its primary slogan 'Say No to the Drug of the Commonplace'). The group issued the zines Possibility: A Journal of the Interzone (taken from passages in the works of Samuel Beckett and William S. Burroughs) and Antics: A Journal ov Anti-Control [sic] He also worked with TOPY-Chaos, the Australian 'station' of Genesis P. Orridge's Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth [sic]. In 2001 Blackmore founded the Aurora Australis Thelemic Temple as an independent Thelemic teaching and research body.
Blackmore's non-fiction publications include the bibliographic guides: H.P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft Criticism: A Bibliographical Supplement 1980-1984 (1985, with S.T. Joshi); Brian Lumley: A New Bibliography (1984); and Harlan Ellison/Terry Dowling/Jack Dann: A Bibliographic Checklist (1996). As an editor he compiled Terror Australis: Best Australian Horror (1993), and co-edited Mythopoeia: The Newsletter of Dymocks Science Fiction and Fantasy (1995-97, with Glayne Louise). He is also Editor of the Sword and Sorcery and Weird Fiction Terminus (SSFWT) amateur press association (including its online blog) and contributes regular articles to the zine of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. In addition he is co-editor (with Phillip A. Ellis, James Doig and Danny Lovecraft) of the bi-annual critical journal Studies in Australian Weird Fiction.
Among other non-fiction publications are critical writings and interviews with leading writers in speculative fiction. These have appeared in Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine, Crypt of Cthulhu, Dagon, Dayspring, E.O.D., FuBar, Masque Noir, Outpost, Severed Head, Shadowplay, Shoggoth, Sirius, Tabula Rasa and tabula-rasa.com, Talents and Twilite Grotto. Additional critical works have appeared in the journals Studies in the Fantastic and Lovecraft Annual, and in the books Robert Bloch: The Man Who Collected Psychos (2009) and 21st Century Gothic (2010). He has also reviewed horror and fantasy fiction for EOD, Galaxy Newsletter, Prohibited Matter, Science Fiction, Shoggoth, Skinned Alive and The Sydney Morning Herald.
A resident of Wollongong, New South Wales, Blackmore has presented frequent talks and lectures in the Illawarra region on the Western Mysteries. His association with The University of Wollongong's Faculty of Creative Arts, where he has undertaken a Master's degree in creative writing, has also allowed him the opportunity to lecture in the areas of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Over the years his public profile has been advanced, too, through television appearances on such programs as Martin's Midday and Jennifer Byrne Presents. He is a regular panellist at science fiction conventions such as the annual Conflux convention in Canberra, and with his magic partner Margi Curtis runs workshops on esotericism and magick at these conventions.
Blackmore's poetry, which has been described as similar to that of Clark Ashton Smith, is largely written in the form of Lovecratftian sonnets, with the first 'Ubbo-Sathla' appearing in Telmar: Magazine of the Maquarie University SF Association in 1977. Later poems have been published in Shoggoth, Beastly: The Official Journal of the Ordo Templi Orientis, Arkham Sampler, EOD and Terror Australis. Much of his weird poetry is collected in Spores from Sharnoth and Other Madnesses (2008). His short stories, which have appeared in Agog! Fantastic Fiction, Agog! Terrific Tales, Avatar, Bold Action, Phantastique and Pulse of Darkness, have also been likened to the works of Raymond Carver and Milan Kundera. He has not confined himself to speculative fiction, however, having turned his passion for the Pre-Raphaelite painters into a 35,000 word ficto-critical novella. Focusing on the relationship between Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddall, the work was presented as the creative component of a Bachelor of Arts Honours thesis in Creative Writing at The University of Wollongong.
In addition to his writing and editing Blackmore worked as a bookseller in Sydney for 25 years (1979-2004), primarily managing specialist science fiction and fantasy departments within larger bookstores such as Dymocks and Collins Superstore. His industry associations include being a member of societies such as the Australian Horror Writers Association, the Australian Sherlock Holmes Society, the Sydney Passengers, and the C.G. Jung Society of Sydney. He also co-founded The Sydney Horror Writers and Artists Society (The Gargoyle Club) and has been NSW Correspondent for Australian SF Writers News, local representative for Horror Writers of America, and a judge on the annual George Turner Awards for best first science fiction novel.
Leigh Blackmore's interests away from the occult and speculative fiction include music. For a number of years he has played bass guitar with the Illawarra-based trio Third Road, and was formerly a drummer and keyboard player with such bands as Worm Technology, Koga Ninja, Astropop and Post-Mortem.