Refugee Stories: A Conversation with Bao Phi and Kao Kalia Yang

Date / Time

March 5, 2020

4:00 am - 5:30 am


GLAS Lecture Series on Global Asian Borderlands

Join us as these two award-winning writers discuss their work on the history and experiences of Asian refugees in American society. This event is part of a GLAS series on refugee issues for Spring 2020.

Bao Phi has been a spoken word poet for over two decades. He has two collections of poems, both published by Coffeehouse Press, Sông I Sing and Thousand Star Hotel, the latter of which was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award and was chosen as 2017’s best poetry book of the year by San Francisco State’s Poetry Center.

He is also the author of two children’s books. A Different Pond received multiple awards including a Caldecott Honor, an Ezra Jack Keats Honor, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association award for best picture book, the Minnesota Book Award for picture books, and the Charlotte Zolotow Award for excellence in children’s book writing. My Footprints was named a Best Fiction Book for Young Readers by the Chicago Public Library. He is the Director of Events and Awards at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, where he lives with his ten-year-old daughter.

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. Born in the refugee camps of Thailand to a family that escaped the genocide of the Secret War in Laos, she came to America at the age of six. She is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir and Readers’ Choice, a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Asian Literary Award in Nonfiction.

Her second book, The Song Poet won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Creative Nonfiction Memoir, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize. The book is the first Hmong story adapted into an opera by the Minnesota Opera (it will premiere in the spring of 2021).

She also writes children’s books and co-edited a collection of essays, What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color (University of MN Press). Kao Kalia Yang is also a teacher and a public speaker.

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