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Chris Belden's picture

Chris Belden

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CHRIS BELDEN was born and raised in Canton, Ohio--home of Thurman Munson, The O'Jays, Macy Gray and Marilyn Manson. He attended the University of Michigan, where he received a B.A. in Film & Video Studies, which is to say he spent four years watching movies.

After college he worked lousy day jobs for several years while playing drums in the band The Slang. For a while he also played in Joe Henry's band, which is how he ended up in NYC. There he worked in the publishing industry and started writing fiction in earnest. He also wrote several screenplays, including Amnesiaco-written with the great David Henry--which was made into a B movie starring Ally Sheedy and John Savage.

In 1996, Chris was in the first cohort of the Bronx WritersCorps, a sort of literary Peace Corps made up of writers who went out into the South Bronx community to work with underserved populations. For his part, Chris ran several writing workshops in senior centers throughout the Bronx. In the 90s Chris also started writing & performing in plays, mostly at the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

In 2001, he co-wrote and co-starred (with the Lexington Group) in The Ballad of Larry the Flyer, which ran at both the Spoleto Festival in Charleston and the NY Int'l Fringe Festival. In 2003, he released his first album, Songs About Anything, followed a few years later by Camouflage.

In 2007, after 20 years in NYC, Chris moved to Connecticut with his wife, Melissa, and daughter, Francesca. A few years later he received an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University. Since then he has taught writing at Fairfield U., the Westport Writers Workshop, the Ridgefield Writers Workshop, and Garner Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison. Chris is also co-founder of the Ridgefield Writers Conference.

Chris is the author of the novels Shriver and Carry-on, and the story collection The Floating Lady of Lake Tawaba, which won the Fairfield/New Rivers Book Prize. In 2013, judge Susan Orlean chose Chris's essay "Inside Words: How to Teach Writing in Prison" for the Bechtel Prize, from Teacher & Writers Collaborative. In 2014, Chris and Melissa started their own manuscript editing business, First Person Editing Services. Chris tries to write, read and play a little music every day, and often fails miserably.