Ma Ei is from the Burma Delta. She made her debut with the 1977 poem ‘Chance for a Snap Smile.’ By 1982, fourteen poems and two short stories had been published in Moe Wei and Shumawa magazines. The same year, she joined the Communist Party of Burma “in order to serve the people in the armed resistance with her pen”. She was a propagandist, a tax collector, a schoolteacher and a war reporter for the party.
In 1989, as internal rebellions rocked the party, she parted with the Communists to work for Kachin Special Region 1 (a ceasefire zone) in the northernmost part of the country. She came back to Rangoon in 1995 as one of the prisoners handed over to the government under the ceasefire agreement. Her poem ‘A Letter for Lovers and Haters’ won a national award for the best poem in 2009.
Ma Ei has published more than two hundred poems, about a hundred short stories, a hundred articles and A Freight of Roses, a novel, and was an editor for The New Age magazine and The Torch journal. Having been reincarnated as a rebel, a widow, a divorcee and a poet laureate, she believes that she has gathered more material than she can possibly use in her lifetime. It is her ardent hope that, while remaining separate from any -isms or schools, she will be able “to express her true feelings until her last breath”.