Lynley Hood's writing career was launched with her award-winning biography of Sylvia Ashton Warner, Sylvia!. It won the 1989 Book of the Year Wattie Award and the Pen First Book of Prose Award. She followed with Who Is Sylvia? The Diary of a Biography and in 1994 Minnie Dean: Her Life and Crimes, a finalist in the NZ Book Awards. Her controversial book A City Possessed published in 2001 went on to win the Montana Book of the Year Award as well as the People's Choice Award. Lynley is a former Burns Fellow, she holds a MSc in Physiology and a Doctorate of Literature from the University of Otago.