Dr Mary Jean Chan

BA (Swarthmore), MA (RHUL), MPhil (Oxford), PhD (RHUL)

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry)

School of Education, Humanities and Languages


Dr Mary Jean Chan is the author of Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019) and Faber USA (2020). Flèche won the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted in 2020 for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize. In 2021, Flèche was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Chan's second collection, Bright Fear, is forthcoming from Faber in 2023. 
Chan won the 2018 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2017 and 2019, receiving an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. Their writing has been featured in or is forthcoming from The New Republic, The New Statesman, The Guardian, Granta and The London Review of Books. Chan was guest co-editor with Will Harris at The Poetry Review in Spring 2020 and recently co-edited 100 Queer Poems (Vintage, 2022) with Andrew McMillan. In Summer 2022, Chan will be a Visiting Writer at the Asia Creative Writing Programme in Singapore. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan currently lives in Oxford.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • BA Creative Writing (Introduction)
  • BA Creative Writing (Intermediate)
  • MA Creative Writing (Poetry) 


I currently supervise BA and MA students working on their Creative Writing dissertations, with a focus on poetry and nonfiction projects.


My research interests include postcolonial literature, queer theory, critical race theory and contemporary poetry, with a particular interest in hybrid poetic forms such as the lyric essay and the prose poem. 

Research grants and awards

  • 2020 Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry First Collection Prize (Shortlisted for Flèche)
  • 2020 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize (Shortlisted for Flèche)
  • 2020 Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour (Shortlisted for Flèche)
  • 2020 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize (Shortlisted for Flèche)
  • 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry (Winner, for Flèche
  • 2019 Eric Gregory Award (Winner, for A Hurry Of English)
  • 2019 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (Shortlisted for "The Window")
  • 2018 Poetry Society Geoffrey Dearmer Award (Winner, for "The Fencer")
  • 2017 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (Shortlisted for "//") 
  • 2017 National Poetry Competition (Second Place, for "The Window") 
  • 2016 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition (ESL Winner, for "Wet Nurse") 

Research projects

  • I served as guest co-editor at The Poetry Review for Spring 2020. My reviews, essays and op-eds have appeared in the Guardian ReviewThe Poetry ReviewPN ReviewPoetry LondonModern Poetry in TranslationWild Court and The Hong Kong Review of Books, with criticism published in The Journal of American Studies and The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. I am currently a co-editor on two book projects. 
  • My poetry has appeared in the Academy of American Poets ‘Poem-a-Day’ series, Five Dials: A Literary Magazine by Hamish HamiltonThe Poetry ReviewThe White ReviewPoetry LondonPN ReviewOxford Review of BooksThe London MagazineAmbitThe New StatesmanThe Spectator and English: The Journal of the English Association.



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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

2020 – Present     Pamphlet Selector, The Poetry Book Society

2020 – Present     Judge, The Magma Open Poetry Pamphlet Competition

2019 – Present     Jury Member, The Rathbone Folio Academy

2019 – Present     Judge, The Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation

2018 – Present     Advisory Board Member, The Poetry Translation Centre

2018 – Present     Ledbury Poetry Critic, The Ledbury Poetry Festival

2018 – Present     Member, Race and Poetry and Poetics in the UK Research Group

2018 – 2019         Judge, The Poetry Business New Poets Prize

2017 – 2019         EditorOxford Poetry

2017 – 2018         Research Associate, The Royal Holloway Poetics Research Centre

2016 – 2017         TOAST Poet (Talent scheme funded by Arts Council England)

2014 – 2015         Vice-President, The Oxford University Poetry Society

Further details

Website: www.maryjeanchan.com

Press, publicity and reviews

  • Flèche is an extraordinary, brilliant and searing collection...beautifully governed by formal rigour and literary excellence. – The Poetry Review
  • [Chan] is one of those rare poets who leave you looking up with a sense that you can engage even the smallest part of the world around you with a much greater intensity. –​ PN Review