Award-winning author Lynley Hood is a Dunedin-based scientist, independent scholar and writer. She was born in Hamilton, New Zealand, in 1942 and moved to Dunedin in 1961, where she has lived, more or less continuously, ever since. After obtaining an M.Sc in Physiology from the University of Otago, Lynley worked in medical research before becoming a parent and freelance writer.
Lynley's publications include four books, one stage play, several book chapters and scores of magazine articles. Her first book (Sylvia! The Biography of Sylvia Ashton-Warner) won the 1989 Wattie Book Award and the PEN Best First Book of Prose Award, and was Talking Book of the Year in 1990. Her third book (Minnie Dean: Her Life and Crimes) was short-listed for the 1995 New Zealand Book Awards. The radio version of her stage play (The Baby Farmer) won a special commendation at the 1997 New Zealand Radio Awards. Lynley's fourth book (A City Possessed: the Christchurch Civic Creche case) won the Montana Medal for non-fiction and the Readers' Choice Award at the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and also the 2002 New Zealand Skeptics Bravo Award. In 2003, Lynley was awarded a Doctorate of Literature (examined, not honourary) by the University of Otago for "published contributions of special excellence in literary, social and historical knowledge".
Lynley has served as national vice-president and local secretary of PEN (NZ), organised the Wordstruck literary festival, established the Dunedin Writers' Walk and contributed to literary festivals in New Zealand and overseas. She held the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago in 1991.