• About


    Mary Jean Chan (b. 1990) is the author of Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019), which was chosen as a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her work has featured as a Guardian Poem of the Week, a Guardian Poem of the Month and as one of The Telegraph's best poems of the year. In 2019, Mary Jean was named as one of Jackie Kay's 10 Best BAME writers in Britain. Flèche is currently shortlisted for the 2019 Costa Book Awards for Poetry, and has been chosen by Fiona Benson as a Guardian Best Book of 2019 and by Sinéad Gleeson as an Irish Times 2019 Book of the Year.


    In 2016, Mary Jean won the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition in the English as an Additional Language category. In 2017, she won the Poetry Society Anne Born Prize and the Institute of Psychoanalysis Poetry and Psychoanalysis Competition, and came Second in the 2017 National Poetry Competition. The title poem from her debut collection won the 2018 Poetry Society Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. She has been shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem twice, and is the recipient of a 2019 Eric Gregory Award.


    A Ledbury Poetry Critic, she has written reviews for Guardian Review, The Poetry Review and Poetry London. Her critical work has appeared in The Journal of American Studies, Wild Court and Modern Poetry in Translation. In 2017, she won the Postcolonial Studies Association/Journal of Postcolonial Writing Postgraduate Essay Prize. Mary Jean was recently announced as guest co-editor at The Poetry Review in Spring 2020. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she is a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University and lives in London.

  • A 2019 Poetry Book Society

    Autumn Recommendation


    ShortlisteD for the 2019 Costa book Awards


    Includes ‘ // and The Window, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2017 and 2019


    BUY HEre



    The arrival of an essential new voice. – Sarah Howe


    Chan's work has an astounding urgency to it. A poet of our time...her poetry is psychologically astute and culturally complex. – Jackie Kay


    Chan is an assured writer in many forms. Her art is both fastidious and direct. – Alison Brackenbury


    Flèche is an extraordinary, brilliant and searing collection, its smouldering ardour beautifully governed by formal rigour and literary excellence. – Bidisha

  • Anthologies

    Selected Publications

    Published by Faber & Faber (2018)

    My poem "//" (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem) appears here.

    Published by Carcanet Press (2018)

    A selection of my work appears here.

    Published by Boiler House Press (2018)

    Two of my poems, "Hybridity" and "Dress", appear here.

    Published by Bad Betty Press (2018)

    Two of my poems, "Dragon Hill Spa" and "Rise and Shine", appear here.

    Published by Pan Macmillan Children's Books (2018)

    My poem "Practice" appears here.

    Published by Verve Poetry Press (2018)

    My poem "A Lover's Manual" appears here.

    Published by Faber & Faber (2018)

    My poem "Truce" appears here.

    Published by Valley Press (2019)

    My poem "Dress" appears here.

    Published by Doubleday UK (2019)

    My poem "They Would Have All That" appears here.

    Published by Platypus Press (2019)

    My poem "Song" appears here.

    Published by Michael O' Mara Books/Forward Arts Foundation (2019)

    My poem "what my mother (a poet) might say" appears here.

    Published by Faber & Faber (2019)

    My poem "The Window" (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem) appears here.

  • Articles & Essays

    Selected Publications

    Modern Poetry in Translation:

    The Best of World Poetry (2018)

    Wild Court, the English Department of

    King's College London (2017)

  • Appearances



    22 Jan: 20th Century & Contemporary Literature Graduate Seminar, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge

    8 Feb: Faber & Faber at 90, Readings by Richard Scott & Mary Jean Chan, National Portrait Gallery, London

    22 Feb: 40 Years of Gay's the Word Bookshop, A Literary Celebration, The British Library, London

    8 Mar: Mary Jean Chan & Nadine Aisha Jassat , StAnza International Poetry Festival, St Andrews

    20 Mar: The National Poetry Competition 40th Anniversary Readings, Kings Place, London

    25 Mar: The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Poetry, The House of Lords, Westminster, London

    25 Apr: AWPI Keynote Poetry Reading by Mary Jean Chan, Humanities Institute, University College Dublin

    26 Apr: AWPI Plenary Roundtable: The PhD in Creative Writing, Humanities Institute, University College Dublin

    3 May: Keats Bicentenary Readings with Rachael Allen, Mary Jean Chan & Isabel Galleymore, Keats House, London

    12 June: Sarah Howe, Mary Jean Chan & Jennifer Wong in Conversation with Dorothy Wang, The Poetry Cafe, London

    14 June: An Evening of Poetry: Jay Bernard’s Surge & Mary Jean Chan’s Flèche, Greenwich Book Festival, London

    15 June: Roundtable on Canons and Values in Contemporary Literary Studies, University of Southampton

    26 June: National Poetry Library Lates with Mary Jean Chan & Keith Jarrett, Hayward Gallery Cafe, London

    3 July: The Poetry Review Summer Launch: Ilya Kaminsky, Suji Kwock Kim & Mary Jean Chan, The Poetry Cafe, London

    5 July: Launch of Debut Collection Flèche with Sarah Howe & Will Harris, The London Review Bookshop, London

    11 July: Ambit Magazine 60th Anniversary Celebration Readings (Bumper Issue 237), VO Curations, London

    12 July: Jay Bernard's Surge and Mary Jean Chan's Flèche, Gay's the Word Bookshop, London

    17 July: Launch of Flèche in Conversation with Daisy Johnson, Blackwell's Westgate Bookshop, Oxford

    24 July: Readings by Fiona Benson & Mary Jean Chan, John Hewitt International Summer School, Armagh

    3 Aug: The 2018/19 New Poets Prize Winners with Mary Jean Chan, Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester

    8 Aug: Amelia Abraham & Mary Jean Chan in Conversation, Burley Fisher Books, London

    4 Sept: Guest Reader, Arvon: Towards a Collection with Tom Chivers & Sarah Hesketh, Totleigh Barton

    11 Sept: Behind the Mask, Another Mask: A Corrupted Poetry Series Event, October Gallery, London

    13 Sept: Guest Reader, Launch of After the Formalities by Anthony Anaxagorou, Rich Mix, London

    21 Sept: Readings by Luke Kennard & Mary Jean Chan, Milton Keynes Literary Festival, Milton Keynes

    24 Sept: Readings by Mona Arshi, Jacqueline Saphra & Mary Jean Chan, Waterstones Gower Street, London

    1 Oct: The Faber & Faber 90th Anniversary Readings: A Celebration of Poetry, Bloomsbury Theatre, London

    3 Oct: Mary Jean Chan & Anthony Anaxagorou: National Poetry Day Readings, Blackwell's Bookshop, Oxford

    11 Oct: Anthony Anaxagorou’s Debut Poetry Showcase, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham

    11 Oct: The Role of the Poetry Critic: Sandeep Parmar, Jeremy Noel-Tod & Mary Jean Chan, Cheltenham

    14 Oct: Headline Readings by Mary Jean Chan & Will Harris, Cafe Writers, The Louis Marchesi Cafe, Norwich

    20 Oct: The 2019 Forward Prizes for Poetry Awards Ceremony, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    21 Oct: Miriam Allott Visiting Writers: Chen Chen, Jay G Ying & Mary Jean Chan, The University of Liverpool

    28 Oct: Poetry Club: A. K. Blakemore, Mary Jean Chan & Rebecca Perry, The Coronet Theatre Bar, London

    17 Nov: Readings by Hannah Sullivan & Mary Jean Chan, The Woodstock Poetry Festival, Woodstock Town Hall

    18 Nov: Guest Reader, Advanced Poetry Workshop with Kathryn Maris & Special Guests, The Poetry School, London

    28 Nov: Readings by Emily Berry, Wayne Holloway-Smith, Mary Jean Chan & Rebecca Tamás, The London Library

    11 Dec: A Poetry Reading with Q&A, English and Modern Languages Research Seminars, Oxford Brookes University




    24 Jan: The Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics, University of Birmingham

    8 Feb: Poetry London Spring 2018 Readings, Kings Place, London

    15 Feb: The Lodestone Poets at Waterstones, Tottenham Court Road, London

    22 Feb: International Mother Languages Day, Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester

    27 Feb: Race and Equality (An Evening of Poetry and Film), King's College London

    7 Mar: ignitionpress pamphlet launch, The Poetry Cafe, London

    8 Mar: ignitionpress pamphlet launch, Society Cafe, Oxford

    25 Mar: ignitionpress pamphlet launch, The Oxford Literary Festival, Oxford

    12 Apr: ignitionpress pamphlet launch, Lighthouse Bookshop, Edinburgh

    23 Apr: Celebration of Adrienne Rich with Poet in the City, Wilton's Music Hall, London

    30 Apr: Carcanet New Poetries VII Launch, The London Review Bookshop, London

    2 May: An Evening of Faber Poetry Readings (Spring 2018), Bloomsbury House, London

    4 May: Carcanet New Poetries VII Launch, The Old Library, All Souls College, Oxford

    28 May: Reading with Amy Key, Claudine Toutoungi & Eleni Cay, the Troubadour, London

    30 May: Reading with Will Harris, Theophilus Kwek & Jennifer Tsai, 11 Bedford Square, London

    31 May: Reading at the UN Human Rights Symposium, The American School in London

    5 June: Out-Spoken Live at the 100 Club, 100 Oxford Street, London

    8 June: The Forward Prizes at the Second Home Literary Festival, Holland Park, London

    16 June: "Poets Poets" Day 2018 (Readings & Discussion), UCL English Department, London

    18 June: Poetry Reading Series at Bradfield College, Bradfield, Berkshire

    20 June: Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Salon, RCW Offices, London

    30 June: Poetry and Psychoanalysis Conference, The Institute of Psychoanalysis, London

    5 July: The National Poetry Competition Winners, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Ledbury

    6 July: Modern Poetry in Translation with Richard Scott & Jennifer Tsai, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Ledbury

    8 July: 20 minutes with Mary Jean Chan, The Ledbury Poetry Festival, Ledbury

    12 July: Launch of The Dictionary of Rare and Precious Words, Oxford Spires Academy, Oxford

    19 July: Reading with Richard Scott and Sophie Robinson, Waterstones, Islington, London

    25 July: The Poetry Book Society Summer Showcase, Southbank Centre, London

    6 Sept: Modern Poetry in Translation London Launch, Gay's the Word, London

    7 Sept: The White Review Poetry Salon with Raymond Antrobus and Rachel Long, Burley Fisher Books, London

    30 Sept: The Echo Chamber with Paul Farley, the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival, Hull

    16 Oct: An Evening of Poetry and Classical Music, Goodenough College, London

    27 Oct: Race and Poetry and Poetics in the UK (RAPAPUK) Conference, Queen's College, Cambridge

    3 Nov: "Queer Studio" with Richard Scott and guest readers, Poetry in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

    10 Nov: Reading with ignitionpress poets, the Woodstock Poetry Festival, Oxford

    29 Nov: Reading and launch of Wretched Strangers anthology, Waterstones, Oxford

    10 Dec: Reading with Eley Williams and Gulsum Altinbas, Sid Motion Gallery, London

  • Workshops

    Spring-Summer 2019

    16 March 2019, 2-5pm, The Poetry Society, London

    Join Mary Jean Chan in an interactive creative writing workshop which will hone in on some of the victorious poems from the past 40 years of the National Poetry Competition. Suitable for all writing abilities (aged 18+).

    23 Apr–2 Jul 2019, 6 weeks, Tues 7-9pm, Royal Festival Hall, London

    Explore and be inspired by the work of Carolyn Forché, Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, Kei Miller, Terrance Hayes, Richard Scott and others as they bear witness to a breathtaking range of human experience. Suitable for all writing abilities (aged 18+).

  • Media


    31 March 2012

    What Makes a Good Society?

    ignitionpress pamphlet launch (8 March 2018)

    Poem: 'Long Distance' (A Hurry of English)

  • Contact

    Literary Agent: Emma Paterson



    Publicist: Kate Burton



    Twitter: @maryjean_chan