Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang

Fellow: Awarded 2023
Field of Study: General Nonfiction

Competition: US & Canada

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American writer. She is a writer of memoir, children’s literature, a librettist, public speaker and teacher. Her first book, The Latehomecomer: a Hmong Family Memoir, was a National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read title and was adapted for the stage by Literature to Life. Her second memoir, The Song Poet: a Memoir of my Father, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize. It was listed as number 16 in Esquire Magazine’s “50 Best Biographies of All Time.” The Minnesota Opera commissioned a libretto by Yang for an opera of the same name which had a sold out premier run in 2023. Her collective refugee memoir, Somewhere in the Unknown World was one of Kirkus Best Books of the Year. She also co-edited the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color. Yang is also a prolific children’s book author, her newest title, From the Tops of the Trees, won the Asian Pacific American Literary Award.

Photo Credit: Shee Yang

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