kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora

✚Other Authors

Ed Lin

Ed Lin, a journalist by training, is the author of several award-winning books, including: Waylaid, his literary debut; the Robert Chow crime series, set in 1970s Manhattan Chinatown (This Is a BustSnakes Can’t Run and One Red Bastard); and the Taipei Night Market crime series (Ghost MonthIncensed and 99 Ways to Die). Lin is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards. He lives in New York with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and his son Walter.



This is a Bust

Kaya Press 2007

Now available from HarperCollins!

This Is a Bust, the second novel by award-winning author Ed Lin, turns the conventions of hard-boiled pulp stories on their head by exploring the unexotic and very real complexities of New York City’s Chinatown, circa 1976, through the eyes of a Chinese-American cop. A Vietnam vet and an alcoholic, Robert Chow’s troubles are compounded by the fact that he’s basically community-relations window-dressing for the NYPD: he’s the only Chinese American on the Chinatown beat, and the only police officer who can speak Cantonese, but he’s never assigned anything more challenging than appearances at store openings or community events. Chow is willing to stuff down his feelings and hang tight for a promotion to the detective track, despite the community unrest that begins to roil around him. But when his superiors remain indifferent to an old Chinese woman’s death, he is forced to take matters into his own hands. This Is a Bust is at once a murder mystery, a noir homage and a devastating, uniquely nuanced portrait of a neighborhood in flux, stuck between old rivalries and youthful idealism.



Kaya Press 2002

Waylaid is the story of a Chinese American boy struggling to grow up amidst the drudgery and sexual innuendo of his parent¹s sleazy motel on the Jersey Shore. Conscripted into the family business, the protagonist spends his summer days and after-school hours renting out rooms to johns and hookers, lonely old men, and families whose homes have been repossessed. He becomes obsessed with losing his virginity, a preoccupation whose very intensity reflects a society that delivers sex as a distraction from despair. In its blackly humorous exploration of immigrant dreams and working class realities, Waylaid is a switchblade in the gut to stories of overachievement and success that ignore the human cost.


David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College

Kaya Press 2020

Forthcoming February 2020!

Nearly twenty years after Ed Lin first burst onto the literary scene with his brash, unflinching novel Waylaid about a 12-year-old Taiwanese American kid coming-of-age in his parents’ motel on the Jersey Shore, he’s back with his first official Young Adult novel. David Tung is a New Jersey high school student who is navigating the stress of multiple social circles (regular school in an upscale, Asian-majority suburb versus weekend Chinese school in working-class NYC Chinatown), parental pressures to get As, two possible girlfriends he’s not allowed to have, and the fear he will die alone, whether or not he gets into Harvard. David Tung Can’t Get a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College is a heartfelt and hilarious look into the complexities of being Asian American.

More Ed Lin Books
One Red Bastard
Minotaur 2012
Snakes Can’t Run
Minotaur 2010

“Part New York neighborhood portrait a la American-theater staples Street Scene and Dead End, part hard knocks but optimistic little-guy’s story a la Edward Dahlberg’s novel Bottom Dogs (1929), Lin’s juicy, dialogue-heavy sophomore effort is rich, flavorful, and humane.”
— Roy Olson, Booklist (Starred Review)

“Rich with political intrigue and a cultural landscape acutely alive,This Is a Bust takes the reader on a journey few are privileged to know…. A satisfying literary read that reads with the quickness of a summer fling read—but don’t read it quickly, you’ll want to savor this novel. Dark, beautiful, and humorous and not to be missed.”
— Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red

“Reading This Is a Bust as well as Ed Lin’s first novel, Waylaid, is like fixing the frayed wiring of a light socket while standing in your bare feet in water during a lightning storm. Outside. We’re talking about Chinese-American characters who don’t play it safe and never went to medical school or got straight A’s in calculus. Take a risk, read this detective story and encounter a Chinatown well beyond the tourist neon and Grandma-arriving-in-America story.”
— Shawn Wong, author of Homebase and American Knees

“Wonderful… In Waylaid, Lin has crafted an unforgettable story from the rundown landscapes of the New Jersey Shore and from the ambivalant geographies of his young narrator’s heart… A coming-of-age novel that is both piercing and tender… Lin is an astonishing talent.”
— Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

“Ed Lin has wrought an Asian American Holden Caulfield, whose view from his tightly conscripted life of working at his parents’ motel is to get laid without getting fucked. No model minority success here, this is the harsh universe of working class immigrants, a nether world that both fascinates and repels.”
— Helen Zia

“There’s great humor here, and great storytelling. What Ed does best is what only great writers do – he tells the truth. I’m a fan for life.”
— Wayne Kramer, co-founder of MC5 and Mad for the Racket

“A beautifully-observed, hilariously truthful, uplifting coming of age story which captures the heart and humanity of a Chinese American male teenager. I am impressed and inspired by Ed Lin’s achievement and wish I could’ve read this book when I was in high school.”

– David Henry Hwang, Playwright of FOB and M. Butterfly

Ed Lin news

Kaya at Smithsonian APA Literature Festival

Kaya Press is excited to be one of the partners bringing you the inaugural Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Literature Festival held in Washington DC at the Smithsonian, The Phillips Collection, Library of Congress and the Dupont Underground from July 27 – 29, 2017. Check out the full schedule of events here. Kaya Press will be […]

Revolutionary Oddball: A Celebration of Writer H. T. Tsiang

On Thursday, October 20th, we will be celebrating And China Has Hands, a novel by political activist, life-long eccentric, and agitprop author H.T. Tsiang. Tsiang’s mostly self-published experimental novels and poetry, published in the 1920s and 1930s, are a testament to his singular unwillingness to compromise his vision or his politics in order to fit within the […]

Kaya at AAAS 2016

Kaya Press is excited to be at the Association of Asian American Studies Conference 2016 in Miami, from April 27th through April 30th. Visit our table–– and celebrate Gene Oishi’s 2016 AAAS Award for Best Book of the Year in Prose, for Fox Drum Bebop. The awards ceremony will be held from 6–7:45pm at Symphony […]

Kaya Press at AWP

AWP is an annual literary conference that brings together over 12,000 writers and publishers from all over the country. Come visit us at Booth 1310! Kaya Press and Tia Chucha Press are sharing a space (which will also feature work by Tiny Splendor, and Dum Dum Zine). And here is a roundup of Kaya’s smoking hot literary […]


“The most consistent intelligent wide-ranging committed press I know – Kaya is an example of how to turn ‘small’ books into literary arrows that shoot straight and true into the heart of our culture and (of course) ourselves.”

— Junot Díaz