Chris Agee is a poet, essayist, editor and photographer living in Ireland. He holds dual Irish and American citizenship, and has spent most of his adult life in Ireland. He also spends part of each year at his house on the Dalmatian island of Korcula, near Dubrovnik, in Croatia.
He was born in 1956 in San Francisco and grew up in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. During the last three years of secondary school, he attended Phillips Academy (Andover), before spending a year of French language study at the Université d’Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France. He then attended Harvard University, where he studied with the poet and translator Robert Fitzgerald, and the Brazilian philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger. He took Fitzgerald’s renowned prosody seminar and wrote his senior thesis on W.H. Auden, also under the former’s supervision. During the summers of 1977 and 1978, he worked as a research assistant in Ireland for the American non-fiction writer Robert Coles, who was preparing a series of articles on the Northern Troubles. In June 1979, he graduated magna cum laude with a BA in American Literature and Language. Since 1979, just after graduation, he has lived in Ireland.
He intended to stay only a year or two in Ireland, but by the mid-eighties his residence in Belfast had become permanent. Between 1979 and 1989, he worked as a Lecturer in Adult Literacy at a further education college in the city. From 1989 to 1992, he worked for the Community Education Department of The Open University in Ireland; from 1988 to 2004, he also taught a number of courses in the Arts Faculty of The Open University, including individual tutorials, for ten years, with republican and loyalist prisoners at the Maze and Maghaberry Prisons. From 1992 to 2007, he was employed by The University of East London as a Senior Lecturer to direct the Irish office of a British trade union education fund.
Since 2007, he has worked full-time as Editor of Irish Pages: A Journal of Contemporary Writing, Ireland’s premier literary journal (which he founded in 2002), as well as in a freelance literary capacity, including as a reviewer for The Irish Times. Between 2013 and 2015, he was the Keith Wright Literary Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, where he remains as a Visiting Scholar in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He recently worked with the filmmaker Johnny Gogan on a documentary about the Irish essayist Hubert Butler (1900–1990), entitled Witness to the Future and launched in February 2016 at the Dublin International Film Festival. He has edited a sixth volume of Butler’s work, Balkan Essays, to be published by The Irish Pages Press in 2016.