Chris Price won the NZSA Award for Best First Book of Poetry with her collection Husk (AUP, 2002). This second book, Brief Lives, is a surprise - a collection of prose poems of varying lengths, followed by a long essay, all elaborate and inventive variations on a theme. Brief Lives is a dictionary of biographical fragments and reflections on known and unknown figures. Chris describes it as 'a meditation on mortality and the tasks of recording, collection and recollection that we quixotically undertake to stave it off'. She explores human lives as performances or works of art, often peculiar or eccentric, and it is itself an example of this creative oddity. Chris writes with great lucidity and takes meticulous care in the arrangement of the pieces (by alphabetical order of title) and in the measured tone which allows elements of autobiography along with amazing snippets of arcane knowledge, a method somewhat reminiscent of Martin Edmond's awardwinning Chronicle of the Unsung. The final essay, on the French writer Villiers De L'Isle Adam, is brilliant - funny, warm, thoughtful and moving.
In this bold and original work, fitting no established genre, Chris Price is taking New Zealand writing into unfamiliar territory.
Chris Price's first solo poetry collection, Husk, was a top 10 bestseller and won the Jessie Mackay award for best first book of poetry at the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. She was, for many years, the co-ordinator of a major international literary event, the Writers and Readers Week, for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington. Chris Price now convenes the undergraduate poetry workshop and manages the on-line journal, Turbine at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. Chris Price has an MA in English and German from the University of Auckland, and an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington. She has worked as an in-house editor in trade publishing for Reed Publishing, and also edited New Zealand's longest-running literary magazine, Landfall, from 1993 to 2000. Chris lives in Wellington, and occasionally plays percussion in an improvisational acoustic music line-up called "Waiting for Donald". She has been widely published in literary journals.