Faber acquires Mary Jean Chan’s Bright Fear

By Faber Editor, 15 November 2022

Faber to publish the keenly anticipated new collection from the Costa Poetry Award-winner, Mary Jean Chan.

Bright Fear, Mary Jean Chan’s second collection, will be published on 3 August 2023. Faber acquired World English language rights from Emma Paterson at Aitken Alexander.

Following on from their award-winning debut, Flèche (2019), Mary Jean Chan’s gleaming new collection fearlessly explores intertwined themes of queer identity, multilingualism and postcolonial legacy: interrogating acts of Covid racism, instances of queerphobia and the hegemony of the English language. Yet Bright Fear remains deeply attuned to moments of beauty, tenderness and grace. It asks how we might find a home within our own bodies, in places both distant and near, and in the ‘constructed space’ of the poem. The contemplative central sequence, Ars Poetica, traces the radically healing and transformative role of poetry during the poet’s teenage and adult years, culminating in a reconciliation of tongues. Throughout, Chan offers us new and galvanising ways to ‘withstand the quotidian tug-of-war / between brightness, terror and love’.


Editors Matthew Hollis and Lavinia Singer say:

‘We are delighted to be publishing this brave and powerful new collection from Mary Jean Chan. Chan is the most generous of writers, mining personal and collective experiences to pass on their hardwon discoveries. We look forward to sharing with readers all that the pages of Bright Fear bestow: resolve in uncertainty, solace in sorrow and, above all, trust in language and the light it emits.’

Mary Jean Chan is the author of Flèche (2019), which 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, the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize, and a 2021 Lambda Literary Award. Chan recently co-edited 100 Queer Poems (Vintage, 2022) with Andrew McMillan and serves as Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan currently lives in Oxford.

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Mary Jean Chan

This keenly anticipated new collection from the Costa Poetry Award-winner speaks ‘out of fear and grief into splendour and joy’.