Mary Hood was born in Brunswick, Georgia on September 16, 1946. Though a versatile writer of excelling in many forms—including novels, essays and reviews—she is predominantly a master of short fiction. Her preferred literary expression is the short story and her preferred genre is regional stories about the people and places of the South she knows best. Her very first collection of short fiction won the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award and also took home the Southern Review/Louisiana State University Short Fiction Award. That volume, titled How Far She Went, was published in 1984 and established her overarching theme of how the loss of family and home inevitably leads to psychological and physical isolation.
Her second collection of stories, And Venus is Blue, was published two years later and added the Lillian Smith Book Award and the Townsend Prize for Fiction continuing list of honors. A Clear View of the Southern Sky brought Hood a second Townsend Prize in 2016. Often compared to the Carson McCullers and Eudora Welty, many other critics have also detected the strong influence of fellow Georgia Erskine Caldwell who also catalogued the sense of alienation and isolation associated with the loss of home both in the literal and symbolic sense.
So essential have the short stories been in constructing the character and identity of her home state that in 1999 Kennesaw State University named her the state’s Writer of the Decade.