Mary Jean Chan

One of Jackie Kay’s selected writers for the International Literature Showcase

‘Her work has an astounding urgency to it. A poet of our time – she captures the newness of everything, stepping into a gay bar for the first time. Her poetry is psychologically astute and culturally complex.’ – Jackie Kay

<< Explore Jackie’s list of great BAME writers

Poet, editor, academic. Proudly queer and BAME. Londoner from Hong Kong.

Mary Jean Chan was born in Hong Kong in 1990. Her debut collection Flèche is published by Faber & Faber (2019). Her debut pamphlet, A Hurry of English, was selected as the 2018 Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and came Second in the National Poetry Competition. She is a Ledbury Poetry Critic, editor of Oxford Poetry, an advisory board member at the Poetry Translation Centre and member of the Folio Prize Academy. Mary Jean is a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University and lives in London.

‘Sparkling and vulnerable…the arrival of an essential new voice.’ – Sarah Howe

‘Mary Jean Chan is a poet, editor and critic whose work is at once incisive and nuanced, intimate and international.’ – Emily Hasler, Poetry International

‘Chan is an assured writer in many forms. Her art is both fastidious and direct.’ – Alison Brackenbury, Under the Radar Magazine

‘[Chan’s] poetry is taut, intellectual but with heart – a rare combination.’ – Stephanie Green, Glasgow Review of Books

‘Key to Chan’s power and complexity as a poet is her empathy for the historical trauma visited upon her mother’s generation within the Chinese diaspora.’ – Alice Hiller, Harana Poetry

‘I am deeply honored to be selected for the ILS by Jackie Kay, a poet and novelist whose work I love.’ – Mary Jean

Main image by Adrian Pope.


Poetry Collections / Pamphlets

Flèche (Faber & Faber, 2019)

A Hurry of English (ignitionpress, 2018)

Articles / Essays

‘Towards a Poetics of Racial Trauma: Lyric Hybridity in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen’ The Journal of American Studies (2018)

‘Queerness as Translation: From Linear Time to Playtime’ Modern Poetry in Translation (2018)

‘Meeting Point: On Being a Chinese Poet Writing in English’ Wild Court, King’s College London (2017)

‘What Is It That You Love?’ Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters (2016)

Contact Mary Jean



Twitter: @maryjean_chan

Instagram: @maryjeanchan


Aitken Alexander Associates: Emma Paterson


Faber: Kate Burton