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Oxford Brookes’ Dr Mary Chan wins 2019 Costa Book Awards for poetry

Oxford Brookes lecturer Dr Mary Chan wins Poetry Category of 2019 Costa Book Awards

Oxford Brookes lecturer Dr Mary Chan wins 2019 Costa Book Awards for poetry for her book Flèche in which she evokes the difficulties of reconciling one’s need for safety alongside the desire to shed one’s protective armour to fully embrace the world.

Oxford Brookes lecturer Dr Mary Chan wins 2019 Costa Book Awards Poetry Category of for her book Flèche.

In Flèche, Mary Jean Chan evokes the difficulties of reconciling one’s need for safety alongside the desire to shed one’s protective armour to fully embrace the world. As themes of multilingualism, queerness, psychoanalysis and cultural history emerge, so too does a richly imagined personal, maternal and national biography. This is a collection that feels urgent and true, dazzling and devastating by turns.

Published by Faber & Faber and 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 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 twice been shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 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 prose 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. She is guest co-editor of The Poetry Review for Spring 2020.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Mary Jean is a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University.

Launched in 1971, the Costa Book Awards is one of the UK's most prestigious and popular book prizes and celebrates the most enjoyable books of the year by writers resident in the UK and Ireland.

Uniquely, the prize has five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – with one of the five winning books selected as the overall Costa Book of the year and each category is judged separately by a panel of three judges per category.

The Costa Book of the Year is then chosen by a nine-member panel which includes representatives from the original panels who are joined by other well-known people who love reading. The overall Costa Book of the Year winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 28th January 2020.

Congratulations to this year's Costa Book Awards Category Winners.