Costa Book Award Winner 2019
Mary Jean Chan is the author of Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019). Flèche won the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2020 International Dylan Thomas Prize and the 2020 Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize. Chan received an Eric Gregory Award in 2019, and served as guest co-editor of The Poetry Review in Spring 2020. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University and lives in London.
Workshop: Queerness as Translation
Mary Jean Chan will read from her award winning poetry collection Flèche (Faber & Faber, 2019), lead a creative writing exercise and discuss her experiences as a writer in a Q&A session. Having grown up bilingual in Hong Kong, the idea of checking someone’s use of Chan’s pronouns only makes sense within an Anglophone context. The pronouns for he, she and they are phonetically the same in Cantonese (Chan’s mother tongue), as well as in Mandarin Chinese. She identifies as queer, in all senses of the word in English. In Chinese, there are other names, ones which she seldom uses, because those words and their specific connotations do not evoke the ways in which Chan has become – and is still becoming – queer. Discovery of the self takes place within language, rooted in the tongues we speak.