Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC


"Stay In Your Lane!" -- Whose Story Is It, And Who Gets To Tell It?

Wed, March 6, 2024
Dinner Program
Yi Shun Lai '96

The publishing industry says it wants more "diverse voices," attached to "diverse stories." But what does that mean? Can the diverse voices only write identity-based stories? Can non-white people write white characters? Is it more important to "stay in your lane" or to embrace different perspectives? Real-life literary scandals such as the controversy surrounding American Dirt, as well as recent books and films like The Other Black Girl and American Fiction have all tackled issues of voice, cultural appropriation and cancel culture in their own ways. In conjunction with the release of her most recent novel, A Suffragist's Guide to the Antarctic, CMC's Assistant Director of Fellowships Advising Yi Shun Lai '96 will discuss her own experience publishing both in her own voice and out of it--and give us an insider's look at the considerations and ramifications that come with each.

Yi Shun Lai '96 is the author, most recently, of the young adult historical novel A Suffragist's Guide to the Antarctic (Simon & Schuster, 2024). Her memoir, Pin Ups, was published in 2020, and her debut novel, Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu, was published in 2016. She has delivered inclusivity workshops to everyone from AAA video-game studios to international nonprofits, and also teaches in an MFA program for Creative Nonfiction. She graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1996 and recently returned to campus as CMC's Assistant Director of Fellowships Advising. When she's not on campus or writing, she can be found teaching her intractable dog useless tricks.

Ms. Lai's talk is part of the Athenaeum's 40th Anniversary Series, which celebrates the achievements of CMC alumni from across the years and invites them to return home to Claremont.

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Claremont McKenna College
385 E. Eighth Street
Claremont, CA 91711


Phone: (909) 621-8244 
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