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Mary Jean Chan selected as one of the eight inaugural Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics

Posted on 27/11/2017
Mary Jean Chan

Mary Jean Chan

Royal Holloway's Mary Jean Chan is one of the successful applicants selected for the innovative Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics mentoring programme at Ledbury Poetry Festival, in collaboration with award-winning poets Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe. 

Mary Jean Chan is a poet, editor and researcher from Hong Kong, and is currently a Research Associate in Poetics and PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, and is an Editor at Oxford Poetry. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the 2017 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and is forthcoming from Carcanet New Poetries VII. Her work has appeared in The Poetry Review, PN Review, Ambit Magazine, The London Magazine, Callaloo Journal and English: Journal of the English Association. She is the winner of the 2017 PSA/Journal of Postcolonial Writing Postgraduate Essay Prize.

The Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics scheme was founded this year to encourage diversity in poetry reviewing culture and support emerging critical voices. Open to budding BAME poetry critics resident in the UK, the scheme offers an intensive eight-month mentorship programme, including workshops, one-to-one mentorship and critical feedback on the writing of a poetry review which will ultimately be shared with a number of partner publications.

Sandeep Parmar, co-founder of the scheme says: “Whilst it is true that reviewing culture does not reflect the diversity of British poetry, it is also abundantly clear that there are many committed and informed voices out there that deserve a wider audience. We’re delighted to have chosen eight exciting emerging reviewers to mentor through the Emerging Critics Scheme, drawn from a very strong group of critics all of whom are already thinking incisively about how reviewing opens onto a wider discussion about our shared literary culture.”

Sarah Howe, co-founder of the scheme says: “By nurturing a new wave of critics of colour and offering them a platform, we hope to kick off a wider conversation about race within the culture of reviewing, interrogating and expanding its terms. I can think of nothing more timely.”

The first workshop will take place in late November 2017 in Ledbury, with sessions led by poets Sarah Howe, Sandeep Parmar, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Claire Trévien and Sunday Times Poetry Critic, Jeremy Noel-Tod. The experiences of the participants will be part of a live discussion about poetry reviewing culture and diversity at Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2018.


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