Stuart Hood centenary

A conference is being held on Saturday November 28th to mark the centenary of the birth of Stewart Hood, whose book Pebbles from my Skull described his experiences as a prisoner of war in Italy and subsequent escape.

The conference, from 10.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., will take place at Open University buildings at 1-11 Hawley Crescent, London. Anyone interested in attending should register with Hilary Horrocks at hilaryhorrocks@btinternet.com.

Stuart Hood, born in small-town NE Scotland in 1915, volunteered for army service in 1940 and was captured in the North African desert while stationed in Cairo with British Intelligence. He was released from Fontanellato PoW camp after the Armistice in September 1943 and, during an almost-year-long journey to meet the Allied advance, fought with Tuscan partisans.

After the war he worked for 17 years at the BBC, resigning as Controller of Programmes, Television, in 1963, having been responsible for programmes such as Z-Cars and That Was the Week That Was. He was briefly Professor of Media Studies at the Royal College until asked to resign following his support for student protests. He latterly taught at the University of Sussex.

Stuart was a distinguished translator, particularly from German. Returning to an earlier career as a fiction writer, he published a series of novels – A Storm from Paradise (1985), The Upper Hand (1987), The Brutal Heart (1989), A Den of Foxes (1991), and The Book of Judith (1995) – which draw on his Scottish childhood, his wartime experiences and his encounters with, amongst others, members of the Baader-Meinhof group.

He joined the Communist Party as a student in Edinburgh but after the war was an anti-Stalinist socialist and, for a few years in the mid-1970s, a member of the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party. Influenced by the class-conscious trade unionists he had met in his university days, he was, also in the 1970s, an active Vice-President of the film and TV technicians’ union, ACTT.