Press and appreciation

Anna Chen: writer, poet, performer and broadcaster

What they said …

Press and Testimonials for Anna Chen

Anna Chen poet - Farrago Poetry Slam 2012

“Charming, witty and sophisticated. ” – SUNDAY TIMES

“… extraordinary … independence and spirit. A very distinct voice, very funny …”  – Jean Seaton, Director, ORWELL PRIZE

“Assured, funny, angry, exhilarating … A triumph.” – Alan Moore


POETRY: REACHING FOR MY GNU collection by UK poet Anna Chen (published by Aaaargh! Press)

“As a poet Anna Chen is brilliant and dangerous. In Reaching For My Gnu she operates one wild-ride roller coaster that soars to altitudes of unfettered wit and then plunges with a startling and implacably knowing anger, stripping away pretence and pretension and targeting both ancient oppression and contemporary crime. ‘What work of depravity is a man who amasses more than he can spend in a lifespan?’ Her deck of cultural references includes Poe and Freud, Stalin and Hemingway, junk food, Marlon Brando, Moby Dick, and Anna May Wong, and she deals these cards face up with a unerringly sense of history uniquely coupled with a perception that’s as topical as tomorrow.” 
Mick Farren

“… a strange rendezvous of language, wit, and the imagination. … She fully integrates the movingly personal, the vibrantly social and the diablolically political. Her rhyming is frequently quasi-Byronic, full of surprise and acerbic invention … Burning words, full of life and truth.” 
Chris Searle, MORNING STAR

” … heartfelt, funny, satirical, accessible and strong.” 

“ It’s saucy, devilish and delightful!” MY ASIAN PLANET

“Superb. … Anna Chen’s poetry wears wet leathers, red lipstick, stilettos – and is heavily armed. Her slim volume, Reaching for My Gnu, is filled with what I’d call ‘strap-on poems’. They look like an evening’s easy pleasure but are far more painful and unforgettable than you’d bargained for. Chen … fucks around with race stereotypes in the poems “Yellowface” and “Anna May Wong Must Die!” They have that perfect mixture of fun and threat.” 

“Love Anna Chen’s art and work….” – Angie Bowie

“Anna Chen is fighting the good fight with fierce, funny, moving and sulphurous poems. You wouldn’t want to cross her, but you want to read her.” 
Heathcote Williams

“Fucking great. I couldn’t put it down.” – Wilko Johnson

Reaching for my Gnu is available on Amazon as an ebook and in paperback.

POETRY: CHI CHI’S GLORIOUS SWANSONG, press and testimonials for Anna’s second collection of poetry (published by Aaaargh! Press 2021)

“This marvellous collection builds like a symphony, from its opening dances through the surf of language and ideas to the breath-taking cross-channel swim of ‘Tinderbox plc’. Assured, funny, angry, exhilarating, and with a shout-out to the majestic Bob Devereux for good measure, Chi Chi’s Glorious Swansong demands to be read; demands to be listened to. A triumph.” 
Alan Moore

“Anna Chen’s talent is rare yet what she writes is in a long-standing tradition: as a poet she blends commentary on both the social and the political in sharp, vibrant, often cuttingly funny verse. Highly recommended!” 
Jack Womack

Anna Chen poetry archive at International Times



“Charming, witty and sophisticated … I am entranced, won over.” SUNDAY TIMES

“Hard hitting and often hilarious … arresting … engrossing and provoking.”  THE SCOTSMAN

“… sensitive, intelligent … insistent and illuminating.” THE HERALD

“It’s the stuff of brilliant satire … riveting.” THE LIST interview

” … refreshingly original …” SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

“A charismatic and attractive performer … original, amusing, rude and rousing.”

“As a performer, she is massively assured, able to court audience sympathy with judicious flashes of vulnerability. Tall and lithe, Chen’s intensely physical act recalls a latter day Emma Peel”

“… a comic and hard-hitting broadside against the stereotyping of Chinese women as exotic sex kittens.”

“… Anna Chen is on a laudable mission: to question our cartoon perceptions of the stereotypical Chinese person… a very convincing case for the neglected and influential history of Chinese women … this colourful and dynamic monologue is truly revealing.”
THE LIST review

“A satirical romp through the sexual sphere, the show has a more serious side … a no-nonsense piece of theatre.”

“Very witty.”
Graham Norton

“I’m taking you shoplifting.”
Jenny Eclair

“One thing stands out above all from this blog: the excellence of Madam Miaow’s writing. Her commentary is consistently strong, especially on Chinese cultural and political issues, and unsurprisingly – given her comedic background – the sense of humour is top-class. We really enjoy reading this blog not because of its political insight – but simply because it’s really, really good.” –

Press for other work …

“Anna, who writes with the power of myth and the sense of reality.” 
Stan Pottinger

“Invigorating, engrossing, witty, passionate and righteous – they should put Anna Chen’s The Steampunk Opium Wars on the school history curriculum.” 

” … a novelty in politically charged entertainment, defies easy analysis. … the unforgettable Hackney and Bermondsey Tea Ceremony. … not so much political entertainment as politicising entertainment. … You can’t really ask for more.” 

“Miss Chen’s sensitive portrayal of this extraordinarily creative artist did much to dispell the often vicious hype directed against the so-called dragon woman who broke up the Beatles.” Yoko Ono: A Life in Flux, BBC Radio 3 (Review 4.04.1999)

“Obviously very well informed.” – Jonathan Mirsky on the JEREMY VINE SHOW 16.09.2016

“Wise and wonderful creature … transgressive being … a disposition and complexion somewhere between a frolicking lamb and a rutting teenager that just discovered it was Britney.”
Alan Pillay, “Comic Strip Presents” actor in TIME OUT 

“The poems in this collection are graceful, muscular, playful, rich in both emotional depth and intellectual rigour; brimful of righteous anger and piercing wit; intent on revitalising both the truism that ‘the political is personal’ and its obverse – that the personal is political.” 
Charles Shaar Murray, author (and Anna’s sweetie)

Anna and Ian Hislop discuss Yellow Peril hysteria on Who Should We Let In? 
BBC2, 22nd June 2017
Morning Star
The Big Issue
The Observer
Anna Chen Poetry Chi Chi's Glorious Swansong
Anna’s second poetry collection, Chi Chi’s Glorious Swansong (published by Aaaargh! Press)
Anna Chen Reaching for my Gnu poetry book
Anna Chen’s first collection of poetry, Reaching for my Gnu (published by Aaaargh! Press)

“This marvellous collection builds like a symphony … Assured, funny, angry, exhilarating … A triumph.” –

Alan Moore
Suzy Wrong – Human Cannon
The Scotsman review

China, Britain and the Nunzilla Conundrum BBC Radio 4
PICK OF THE DAY Guardian Guide, Radio Times  and Daily Telegraph: “… tying it with a ribbon of her wit.”
PICK OF THE WEEK Sunday Telegraph “… refreshingly original …”

BBC Radio 4
The Herald review
The Guardian Festival Diary
London Evening Standard
Plays and Players
The Stage
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