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Acclaimed Hmong American author to speak at UW-Eau Claire

Kao Kalia Yang, an award-winning author and one of the first Hmong American writers whose work has received national attention, will speak about her latest book at 6 p.m. Monday, April 3, in the lounge on the first floor of the Davies Center at UW-Eau Claire. The event is free, and faculty, staff, students and the public are welcome.

Yang, who received praise for her first book, "The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir," will talk about her new book, "The Song Poet: A Memoir of my Father," during her visit to UW-Eau Claire. A reception and book signing will follow Yang's presentation.

Kao Kalia Yang

Photo courtesy of Shee Yang

Yang's latest work describes the life of her father, Bee Yang, a Hmong refugee who was driven from the mountains of Laos and emigrated to Minnesota. Bee Yang used poetry and song to tell the story of the Hmong people, who were caught in a country torn by war. From a Thai refugee camp to a Minneapolis housing project, Kao Kalia Yang's new book describes how her father's poetry and song helped lift his children to success in the United States while holding on to the values and culture of the Hmong people.

Yang's inspirational writing and storytelling has received rave reviews. Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, an author and retired college professor, said Yang's work "Allows us to hear the whispered sorrows and hopes of those transplanted onto foreign soil among strangers."

Yang's first book received praise from Publisher's Weekly, which said, "Yang tells her family's story with grace; she narrates their struggles, beautifully weaving in Hmong folklore and culture."

Yang's presentation is sponsored by the following offices at UW-Eau Claire: Affirmative Action, Blugold Beginnings, English department, University Centers, Housing and Residence Life, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Affairs, Blugold Dining (Sodexo) and the University Bookstore (Barnes & Noble), as well as Chippewa Valley Technical College.

Top photo caption: Kao Kalia Yang and her father, Bee Yang. Photo courtesy of Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune