Skip to content
Price, Chris
Writer's File

Chris Price

Wellington - Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Price, Chris
In brief
Chris Price is a poet, editor and educator. Her collections of poetry include Husk (2002) and The Blind Singer (2009). She has also published an eccentric biographical dictionary that samples the lives of both real and fictional characters called Brief Lives (2006). Price has won and been shortlisted for several nationally recognized literary awards, and in 2008 she was the Auckland University Writer in Residence at the Michael King Writers’ Centre.


Price, Chris (1962- ) is a poet, editor and educator. She teaches creative writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.

Born in Reading, England, Price immigrated to Auckland in 1966. She attended the University of Auckland where she completed an MA in Languages and Literature with First Class Honours in 1986. Later, in 1998, she attended Victoria University of Wellington where she completed an MA in Creative Writing.

Chris Price has long been known for her contributions to literary life in New Zealand. She worked as an editor for Reed Publishing, from 1989 until 1993 when she became the editor of Landfall. Price edited Landfall until 2000, co-editing her final issue, Landfall 2000, with Justin Paton.

From 1992-2004, Price was the coordinator of the hugely successful Writers and Readers programme in the New Zealand International Arts Festival, now known a the New Zealand Festival. In 1993, she edited Bright Fine Gold: and other New Zealand Verse (Reed).

In 2002, her first collection of poetry, Husk, was published. Guy Allen, in the NZ Herald wrote 'with her first collection she establishes herself as a major and distinctive poetic talent. Love and lust, science and technology, language and literature – all get the same alluring treatment.'

Anna Jackson wrote in the Waikato Times that this is 'poetry anyone wanting to be a poet might want to study to see how a master of the art leaps the gap – and makes it across with precision'.

Husk won the 2002 New Zealand Society of Authors Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, now known as the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. The judges said of her writing, 'she makes us see things freshly and the way she deploys language makes us relish it as if we have only just discovered it.'

In June 2004, Price took up a halftime lectureship in creative writing at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML). In 2005-2006 she was one of ten writers who collaborated with New Zealand physicists to produce the anthology Are Angels OK? The Parallel Universes of New Zealand Writers and Scientists (Victoria University Press, 2006).

In 2006, Brief Lives was published Auckland University Press, an eccentric biographical dictionary that samples the lives of both real and fictional characters in a singular hybrid of fiction, anecdote, and essay. It was shortlisted for the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards in the biography category, and the judges remarked that ‘This beautifully crafted book was placed among the finalists because its short meditations on various lives, real and fictional, offer a lively and inventive reworking of the genre of biography. Few books so amenable to being dipped into are also capable of provoking so much thought and introspection. Price's poetic prose is a major factor in luring the reader into engaging with all aspects of the lives described in ways that intrigue and enlighten'.

Brief Lives went on to win the 2007 PANZ Book Design Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book. David Larsen described Brief Lives as ‘a delightful read. It’s conversational. It’s playful. As an invitation to construct lives around shards of paleo-biographical evidence, to think interesting thoughts, it’s hard to resist.’ (NZ Listener, 2-8 September 2006)

In 2008 Chris Price was an Auckland University Writer in Residence at the Michael King Writers’ Centre. Her collection of poetry, The Blind Singer, was released in May 2009 by Auckland University Press.

Since 2009 she has been co-convenor of the MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Chris Price was the winner of the 2011 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship.

In 2012, Price was among three New Zealand and three German poets who participated in the Transit of Venus Poetry Exchange, which culminated in a performances at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, and a bilingual book, Transit of Venus / Venustransit (Victoria University Press, 2016).

Beside Herself (2016, Auckland University Press) provides a collection of riddling poems which plays with character, language, and the way they interrelate. Beside Herself was longlisted for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.