Shawna Yang Ryan

Shawna Yang Ryan is a former Fulbright scholar and the author of Water Ghosts (Penguin Press, 2009) and Green Island (Knopf, 2016). She is the director of the creative writing program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her writing has appeared in ZYZZYVA, the Asian American Literary Review, the Rumpus, Lithub, and the Washington Post. Her work has received the Association for Asian American Studies Best Book Award in Creative Writing, the Elliot Cades Emerging Writer award, and an American Book Award.


Excerpt from Introduction

What changes when masculinity is imagined and portrayed by women? In the third volume of the Ms. Aligned series, the editors and writers continue the project of exploring—as board member Lillian Howan puts it—“the intersection between female creator and male creation.” Volume three focuses on childhood. These pieces, as a collection, ask, How do boys become men? How does the narrative of masculinity develop? And what is that narrative?

The Ms. Aligned Series originated in the vision of writer and editor Pat Matsueda, who sought to trouble the gender binary by upending the traditional narrative dynamic and offering depictions of men through the female gaze. Since volume one, the Ms. Aligned editors have striven to question our preconceived notions of how others see the world, whether it’s women looking through the eyes of men, or adults seeing through the eyes of children.

In a creative writing class, an instructor might offer the exercise to “write from the point of view of a child,” as if “childhood” was a single perspective. The pieces in Ms. Aligned 3 demonstrate that a child’s point of view is singular and unique as the adult they grow into. From a range of authors diverse in geographical location, experiences, and style, the prose and poems in this anthology offer a rich variety of perspectives.