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Artist-in-residence Kao Kalia Yang to kick off English Festival April 25

RELEASED: April 22, 2011

Kao Kalia Yang
Kao Kalia Yang
(Photo by Der Yang)

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire visiting writer Kao Kalia Yang will present new material April 25 as the keynote speaker of English Festival, the university's annual weeklong celebration of language and art.

Yang, who has been teaching in UW-Eau Claire's English department as an artist-in-residence during the 2010-11 academic year, will speak at 7 p.m. in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center. Her presentation will kick off English Festival, which runs through April 29.

Yang is the author of the award-winning memoir "The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir." She has taught courses in creative writing, nonfiction writing and literature during the past two semesters at UW-Eau Claire.

Yang said she considers her presentation to be a letter to the campus community — an oral reflection of teaching, working and learning with students and faculty. Yang, who joined the UW-Eau Claire community about a year ago, said she’s become a better teacher while at the university.

“I've gained a much more compassionate and deeper understanding of the learning that students must do to realize their life ambitions — their visions of themselves,” she said. “I've learned how to appreciate my own hesitance, social awkwardness in the classroom … as tools to facilitate learning in an unrehearsed life.”

Yang, who lives in Minnesota, added that she enjoys her students, admires the intelligence of her fellow faculty members and likes the Eau Claire area.

“The Chippewa River is a beautiful reminder of life long ago and life that is to come, a humbling recall to our own transient stop along the river's banks,” Yang said.” This is a good place to grow calmer, mature.”

In addition to Yang's presentation, English Festival will include the annual International Poetry Reading, student presentations, music recitals and other cultural events. Visit the event website for a complete schedule.

For more information about Kao Kalia Yang or to schedule an interview, contact her via email at yangkk@uwec.edu.

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BS/JP/AH

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