Chris Else

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Reg Graham

Chris Else has been described as one of our most versatile writers. Marked by his dry humour, his nine novels and two short story collections range from satire, tragedy, murder mystery, love story and fairy tale through to philosophical explorations of place and existence. The NZ Listener described Chris as ‘a meticulous observer of people and places’. His work appears in multiple anthologies and journals. He has also written plays for stage and radio, and scripts for television.

Chris was the King’s College Writer-in-Residence (2007), and recipient of the Foxton Fellowship (2003), and Autumn residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre (2012). He has worked as a primary school teacher, publisher’s rep, university lecturer, English language teacher, bookseller, computer programmer, publishing consultant, creative writing and technical writing teacher and information management consultant, and was associated with the avant-garde poetry magazine Freed.

Since 1988 he has run the TFS Literary Agency and Manuscript Assessment service with wife and author Barbara Else. Successful clients include Alan Duff, Emma Neale and Nigel Cox. With Barbara, Chris was instrumental in setting up both the New Zealand Association of Literary Agents and the New Zealand Association of Manuscript Assessors. He is a long time, active member of New Zealand Society of Authors/PEN, serving on the National Council, on and off, for twenty years including two terms as President, and has been a board member and chairman of Copyright Licensing New Zealand.

His latest novel Waterline, published in 2019 by Quentin Wilson Publishing, is a mix of sci-fi, black comedy and domestic drama.



Chris Else’s website

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page


Random House Books author page

Radio NZ review of Waterline (Dec, 2019)

Stuff review of Waterline (Oct, 2019)

Bibliography: Chris Else



Waterline (Quentin Wilson Publishing, 2019)

Gith   (Vintage, 2008)

Black Earth/White Bones  (Vintage, 2007)

On River Road  (Vintage, 2004)

The Beetle in the Box  (Vintage, 2001)

Brainjoy  (Tandem Press, 1998)

Endangered Species (Novella and Short Fiction: Hazard Press, 1997)

Why Things Fall  (Tandem Press, 1992 & Allen and Unwin Australia, 1993)

Dreams of Pythagoras (Short Fiction: Voice Press, 1981)



‘Ventiak’, The Best New Zealand Fiction, Vol 2, (Kidman (ed), Vintage: Random house, 2005)

‘The Alchemist’, The Littledene Club Final (McLaughlan (ed), Tandem Press, 2002)

‘Winning’,  First Past the Post (Phillips (ed), Random House, 2000)

‘2 Down’, 100 New Zealand Short Short Stories (Lay (ed), Tandem Press, 1997)

‘Big Jim Cook and the Wheel of God’, Essential New Zealand Short Stories (Marshall (ed), (Godwit Publishing,2002)

‘Big Jim Cook and the Wheel of God’ Burning Boats (Marshall (ed), Longman Paul, 1994)

‘Big Jim Cook and the Wheel of God’ New Zealand Writing Since 1945 (Jackson and O’Sullivan (eds), OUP, 1984)

‘The Sphinx’ Contemporary New Zealand Fiction (Haley and Davis (eds), Penguin 1987)

‘A Mess of Pottage’, ‘Crumbs of Heaven’, and ‘Lone Egg Blues’ in The New Fiction (Morrisey (ed), Lyndon Publishing, 1985)

‘A Dirty Story’, Oxford Book of New Zealand Short Stories: 4th Series (Wevers (ed), OUP, 1984)

‘Winning’ NZ Listener Stories: 3  (Gifkins (ed), NZBC, 1984)



‘Observations in a Mirror’ Glottis 10 (Poem, 2005)

‘Seven Songs from Sisyphus’ Sport 32  (Poems, 2005)

‘Never Forget’ Takahe 13  (1993)

‘Gloria’, Sport 7  (1991)

‘Fact or Fiction: The Strange Case of BiografiLandfall 189 (Essay, 1995)

‘This Is’, Landfall 163 (1987)

‘Streetwise’ NZ Listener (1987)

‘Composition’ Rambling Jack 2  (1986)

‘Dimensions’ Islands 36  (1985)

‘Game’ Landfall 150  (1984)

‘Winning’ NZ Listener  (1983)

‘Duplicity’  Landfall 144 (1982)

‘A Dirty Story’ Landfall 143 (1982)

‘The Great New Zealand Love Story’ and ‘Flight of Fancy’ Parallax (1982)

‘A Short History of Gaymatt the Prophet’ Climate 29 (1979)

‘Big Jim Cook and the Wheel of God’ Morepork  (1979)

‘i’ Landfall 128  (1978)

‘Treasure Island’ Pilgrims Double Issue  (1978)

‘The Saviour of San Maco’  Mate 21 (1973)

‘Sparrow’  Edge (1973)

‘Rocket’ Mate 20 (1972)



'Character to some extent is much a construction of the reader as it is of the writer.' - Lloyd Jones

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