yi shun lai

Yi Shun Lai (say “yeeshun” for her first name; “lie” for her last) writes “From the Front Lines,” a monthly column about the art of publishing and the craft of writing, for The Writer magazine. She teaches in the MFA programs at Bay Path and Southern New Hampshire Universities.

now available

pin ups

978-1947003897 |  Trade paperback | 4 x 6 | 100 pp | List: $12.95

When Yi Shun Lai was old enough, her mother bought her a subscription to ‘Teen magazine, in the hopes that she’d shed her tomboy skin to reveal a polished young lady. But Lai cut out all the wrong articles–girls on BMX bikes, girls on the gridiron, girls on the ski slopes and in the ocean–and these women became her role models. Pin Ups is Lai’s memoir about her long, ragged relationship with outdoor sports. Along the way, she discovers what it means to find a place in the great outdoors–and what the act of carving out a place of her own taught her about tokenism, women’s leadership, and representation in a white world.


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praise for pin ups

“I read Pin Ups in one exhilarating sitting. Yi Shun Lai asks herself, us, and Mother Nature, ‘Who belongs outdoors?’ Her exploration of these questions is packed with both insight and humor. Like a good hike, Pin Ups challenges and awes the reader, leaving us filled with gratitude at the summit.” 
–Dolly Chugh (Author, The Person You Mean to Be; How Good People Fight Bias; Associate Professor, NYU Stern School of Business)

In Pin Ups Yi Shun Lai takes an honest, introspective look at the challenges and barriers, race and class in particular, that women face in building a relationship to the outdoors. Using her own lived experience as a backdrop, Lai asks her readers to unearth “dedication, passion, and gumption” to experience the joys and wonders of being outside. Ultimately, her message is simple. “You are welcome here.”
–Ruby McConnell, author, A Woman’s Guide to the Wild

Pin Ups is a powerful, moving reflection on race and identity as told through sport. Self-effacing and funny, Yi Shun Lai interrogates and unpacks her teenage pursuit of outdoor sport, and the ways her goals have changed with experience. She asks hard questions: What do race, gender and class have to do with her desire to ski, run, bike and paddle? What is Taiwanese and what is American? What is her ideal of herself as a strong and athletic woman, and what is actually real? What do we decide, and what gets decided for us? As Lai defines the journey that has led to a hard-won sense of self, she forces us to consider ourselves and our own place in the world. We need untraditional stories of women of color more than ever before, and Lai’s story is original and essential.
–Michael Copperman, author, Teacher: Two years in the Mississippi Delta

Pin Ups is a winsome meditation on what one thoughtful and observant adventurer seeks when she takes the risk of challenging her body in the great outdoors. 
–Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses and Let Me Clear My Throat

“Fantastic. Pin Ups is an extraordinary reflection on the relentless struggle of pursuing belonging in the outdoors. It’s a poignant meditation on the entangled, and necessarily messy, interactions of privilege, gender, race and class that mark the wandering trail of truly finding a sense of community. We need more writers like Yi Shun Lai who are critically examining the forces that shape the modern outdoors.”
–Christopher Chalaka, Founder, Outdoor Asian

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