Award-Winning Minnesota Writer Kao Kalia Yang to present Carleton Convocation

April 26, 2014

Acclaimed Minnesota writer and community activist Kao Kalia Yang, member of the Carleton Class of 2003, will present Carleton College’s weekly convocation on Friday, May 2 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Yang's appearance is free and open to the public. Convocations are also streamed live and can be viewed online at

Although now a Minnesotan, Yang’s remarkable story stretches across the globe. The daughter of Hmong immigrants to Minnesota, Yang was born in a Thai refugee camp, Ban Vinai, in 1980.  Her family came to Minnesota when she was seven.  In her book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, Yang recounts her family's journey from Laos to Minnesota – from her parents' first encounter and unceremonious marriage in the jungles of Laos, to their harrowing escape into Thailand, and subsequent relocation to Minnesota.  In The Latehomecomer, Yang struggles to feel a sense of home – new to Minnesota, and cultural heir to centuries of homelessness.

Published in 2008 (the same year she was awarded the Spirit of Carleton College Award), The Latehomecomer is Yang's first book. It is also the first memoir written by a Hmong-American to be published with national distribution. In 2009 The Latehomecomer received two Minnesota Book Awards—for memoir/creative nonfiction and the Reader's Choice Award. It was the first book to ever win two awards, and continues to be the best-selling title in Coffee House Press history.

A community activist and entrepreneur, Yang co-founded Words Wanted, one of the first professional Hmong writing services in the United States.

Yang received a BA from Carleton College in American studies, women’s and gender studies, and cross-cultural studies. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University in New York City.

For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact the Carleton College Office of College Relations at (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street between College and Winona Streets in Northfield.