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Stuart Hood

Stuart Hood

STUART HOOD (1915-2011)


Open University in London and the South-East

1-11 Hawley Crescent

London NW1 8NP

(Near Camden Town tube on the Northern Line)

Saturday November 28

10.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.

We hope to provide coffee and tea and there will be a social space for discussion over lunch (not provided). There are takeway catering facilities nearby.

There is no conference fee.  But please register your attendance with Hilary Horrocks at: as the venue has a limited capacity.


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 an Italian prisoner of war camp at the time of the Armistice in September 1943 and, during an almost-year-long journey to meet the Allied advance, fought with Tuscan partisans, participating in the now semi-mythologised Battle of Valibona (January 1944). His memoir Pebbles from My Skull (1963), often republished, mainly as Carlino, is a classic reflection on his time in war-torn Italy. He worked for 17 years at the BBC, resigning in frustration from the position of Controller of Programmes, Television, in 1963, having been responsible for programmes such as Z-Cars and That Was the Week That Was. He made important documentaries including The Trial of [Soviet dissidents] Daniel and Sinyavsky; and 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. He was a distinguished translator, particularly from German (including the poems of his great friend, Erich Fried) and Italian (including work by Dario Fo and Pier Paolo Pasolini). 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 briefly, in the 1970s, a member of the 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.

Provisional conference programme follows …


PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME (subject to amendment)

10.30 Arrival and Registration

10.45 Welcome, Terry Brotherstone and David Johnson


10.50-11.50 Session One

10.50 Showing of extracts from Stuart Hood’s documentary return to his childhood home, A View from Caterthun, with commentary by filmmakers Don Coutts and Christeen Winford.

11.20 Hilary Horrocks (freelance editor and independent researcher), ‘Stuart Hood, Partigiano – finding traces today in Emilio-Romagna and Tuscany’.


11.55-12.45 Session Two

11.55 Phil Cooke (University of Strathclyde), ‘The Italian Resistance: recent work on the historical context of Carlino’.

12.20 Karla Benske (Glasgow Caledonian University), ‘Showcasing the “compexity of human reactions”: an appreciation of Stuart Hood’s novels’.


12.45 Lunch


2.00-3.15 Session Three

2.00 Robert Lumley (University College, London), ‘Keeping Faith: revisiting interviews with Stuart Hood’.

2.25 Brian Winston (University of Lincoln) and Tony Garnett (film and TV director and producer), ‘Stuart Hood and the Media’.

3.15-3.30 Break


3.30-4.45 Session Four

3.30 David Johnson (Open University), ‘Stuart Hood, Scottish Literature and Scottish Nationalism’.

3.55 Haim Bresheeth (London School of Economics), ‘Working with Stuart on the Holocaust’.

4.20 Terry Brotherstone (University of Aberdeen) will lead a discussion on Stuart Hood’s politics, including his involvement in the 1970s with the Workers Revolutionary Party.


4.45-5.30 Session Five

4.45 Final reflections and future proposals.

5.15 Close.

5.30 Social gathering nearby.


First Published in



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Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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