Chris Arthur is primarily an essayist. His work explores aspects of family, place, memory, loss and meaning in a lyrically philosophical way. The most recent of his six books is On the Shoreline of Knowledge (Iowa/Sightline, 2012). Words of the Grey Wind, a new and selected essays volume, was published by Blackstaff Press in 2009. His work has been included in Best American Essays and frequently mentioned in the ‘Notable Essays’ lists of this annual series. According to Publishers Weekly, ‘Arthur is proof that the art of the essay is flourishing.’ He hopes they’re right.
A member of Irish Pen, he’s one of the writers included in Patricia Craig’s landmark selection of writing from the north of Ireland, The Ulster Anthology (Blackstaff Press, 2006). His essays and poems have appeared in literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2004 he was one of five Ulster poets included in Lagan Press’s Poetry Introductions 1. His writing has received various honours, including the Akegarasu Haya international essay prize (1986) and the Theodore Christian Hoepfner award (2004).
Since 2012 he has been involved with creative writing at the Open College of the Arts, an educational charity dedicated to widening participation in arts education. A schoolteacher, academic, TV researcher and nature-reserve warden before turning to writing full-time, Chris Arthur now lives in Fife with his family. He is working on a new essay collection about what Alexander Smith calls ‘the infinite suggestiveness of common things’.