Christopher J. Priest was born James Christopher Owsley in 1961. He was born and raised in New York. When he was 10 years old he started writing superhero and sci-fi stories, with dreams of becoming an editor. In 1978, he was hired to work at Marvel and worked alongside creators such as Stan Lee, John Romita Jr., Dave Cockrum, Ralf Macchio, Larry Hama, Roger Stern and many others. In 1984 he was promoted to editor (becoming the first African American in mainstream comics) and was put in charge of Spider-Man books. Christopher Priest went on to become the first African American writer in comics when his Falcon Limited Series was published. He went on to cover such books as Power Man & Iron Fist, Conan The Barbarian and Spider-Man v. Wolverine. He scored an exclusive writing deal in '87 that let him work from home, but after that he went "non-exclusive" and did some work at DC. He did some writing then decided to stop working on comics. In 1990, he was offered an editor position at DC and, being recently married, he took it (after some resistance). Priest became friends with DC Executive VP and Publisher Paul Levitz, and they are still friends today. He worked on several projects (including The Ray) but not all of them made it to print. Around that time, he joined up with Dwayne McDuffie, Michael Davis and Derek Dingle to work on what would eventually be the Milstone comics line. After some time, Priest decided to go freelance. He got some work from DC writing The Ray and another book. A little after this, he changed his name from Jim Owsley to Christopher J. Priest. He went to work for Valiant, but it ended badly because of problems with "Solar: Man of the Atom" that were out of his control. After this whole unfortunate fiasco, he moved to Colorado Springs. He got a call and was offered work from Fabian Nicieza of New Valiant. After checking with other creators, he learned that Fabian wasn't a bad guy, so he accepted and started writing the fan-favorite Quantum & Woody. He then went on to work for Marvel doing the third (and considered by many, the best) volume of Black Panther.
Outside of his comics career, Priest is an ordained Baptist minister and a professional music producer.