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Mary Jean Chan Headshot - Kendal Poetry Festival 2020 Poet

Photo credit: Adrian Pope

Mary Jean Chan

Festival Poet

Mary Jean Chan (b. 1990) is the author of A Hurry of English, which was selected as the 2018 Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice. Her debut poetry collection Flèche is published by Faber & Faber (2019) and was chosen as a 2019 Poetry Book Society Autumn Recommendation. Poems from her book have been selected as ‘Poem of the Week’ and ‘Poem of the Month’ in Guardian and Guardian Review, and as one of ‘the year’s best poems’ by The Telegraph. In 2019, she was named as one of Jackie Kay’s 10 Best BAME writers in Britain.

In 2016, Mary Jean won the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition ‘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 ‘Flèche’ 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 for Guardian Review, The Poetry Review, Poetry London and elsewhere. Her critical work has appeared in The Journal of American Studies, Wild Court and Modern Poetry in Translation. She will be guest co-editor at The Poetry Review in Spring 2020, and currently serves as co-editor of Oxford Poetry, advisory board member at the Poetry Translation Centre and member of the Folio Prize Academy. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Mary Jean is a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University. She lives in London.

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