Kao Kalia Yang is an award-winning Hmong-American writer. She is the author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir and The Song Poet. The Latehomecomer is the first Asian American authored and centered book to be added to the roster of the Literature to Life Program and a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read title. The Song Poet has been commissioned as a youth opera by the Minnesota Opera and will premiere in the spring of 2021. Yang is also the author of the children’s books, A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, and The Most Beautiful Thing. She co-edited the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color. Her newest title is Somewhere in the Unknown World, a collective memoir of refugee experiences.
Yang’s literary nonfiction work has been recognized by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize, and garnered three Minnesota Book awards. Her children’s books have been listed as an American Library Association Notable Book, a Zolotow Honor, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a finalist for the Midwest Independent Bookseller’s Award, and winner of a Minnesota Book Award in Children’s Literature. Kao Kalia Yang is a recipient of the International Institute of Minnesota’s Olga Zoltai Award for her community leadership and service to New Americans and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts’ 2019 Sally Award for Social Impact.