Harris, Christie

 Christie Harris, neé Lucy Christie Irwin, author (b at Newark, NJ 21 Nov 1907; d at Vancouver, 5 January 2002). Winner of the Vicky Metcalf Award for a distinguished body of work (1973) and a Member of the Order of Canada (1981), Harris grew up on a BC homestead. She taught school until her marriage in 1932, when she turned to writing essays and radio scripts. At fifty she began writing children's books. Most of her historical fiction, fictionalized biographies of her children, contemporary fiction, science fiction and fantasy is undistinguished. The exception is Raven's Cry (1966), which won the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians Book of the Year Award. It is a powerful historical novel tracing the destruction of the Haida nation and its magnificent art. Her reputation rests, however, on 7 volumes of Northwest Coast Indian tales, which she carefully researched, fusing versions to create stories comprehensible to modern readers. Her best collections are the 3 Mouse Woman books - she received her second CACL Book of the Year medal for the first, Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses (1976) - and The Trouble with Princesses (1980) has won the Canada Council Children's Literature Prize. These books follow the conventions of European cautionary tales to present her primary theme, the need to respect nature and its balance. Her most recent book is Something Weird is Going On (1995).