Shawna Yang Ryan


Shawna Yang Ryan

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Shawna Yang Ryan was born and raised in California. From 2006-2013, she taught at City College of San Francisco.

First published in 2007 by El Leon Literary Arts under the title Locke 1928, her debut novel was re-issued by The Penguin Press as Water Ghosts in 2009. It was a San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller, the 2006 winner of the UC Davis Maurice Prize, a finalist for the 2008 Northern California Book Award, and long-listed for the 2010 Asian American Literary Award. Booklist called Water Ghosts “accomplished and affecting,” while The Boston Globe has declared her “a writer to watch.”

Her writing has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Asian American Literary Review, Kartika Review, The Washington Post, Lithub, and The Berkeley Fiction Review.

Her second novel, GREEN ISLAND (Knopf 2016) received a starred review from Booklist ("absorbing and affecting"), was Penguin Random House International's first pick for their OneWorldOneBook program, an Amazon Best Book of February 2016, an IndieNext Great Reads pick for March 2016, and won a 2017 American Book Award.

Beyond her fiction, she is the co-creator of the website Our Taiwanese American Story, which is dedicated to collecting and archiving the stories of members of the Taiwanese diaspora. She also serves on the board of the North American Taiwanese Professors Association, an organization originally founded in resistance to Taiwan's repressive White Terror era policies.


Water Ghosts (Penguin Press 2009)  [formerly Locke 1928 from El Leon Literary Arts, 2007]; Green Island (Alfred A. Knopf 2016)

Areas of Interest

Fiction, Asian American literature, Taiwan history and politics, Fiction of the American West


2002 Fulbright Fellowship
2006 UC Davis Maurice Prize
2008 Finalist Northern California Book Award
2015 Elliot Cades Emerging Writer Award from the Hawai'i Literary Arts Council
2016 LLL Excellence in Teaching Award
2017 American Book Award
2018 Association for Asian American Studies Best Book in Creative Writing (Prose)


B.A. UC Berkeley M.A. UC Davis


Fall Semester 2018
  • ENG-413: Form and Theory of Fiction
  • ENG-416: Studies: Creative Writing

Spring Semester 2018
  • ENG-338: American Lit Since Mid-20th C

Fall Semester 2017
  • ENG-338: American Literature Since Mid-20th Century
  • ENG-625D: Foundations of Creative Writing

Spring Semester 2017
  • ENG-313: Types of Creative Writing: In-Between Poetry and Prose
  • ENG-337: Am Lit Mid-19th to Mid-20th C

Fall Semester 2016
  • ENG-338: American Lit Since Mid-20th C
  • ENG-625D: Foundations of Creative Writing