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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Kao Kalia Yang, 2003

Activist & Professor, Author

Kao Kalia Yang is an immigrant from Thailand

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University

Kao Kalia Yang is an award-winning 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 six. Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family MemoirThe Song Poet, co-editor of the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color, and an anticipated collective memoir of refugee stories titled Somewhere in the Unknown WorldThe Latehomecomer is the first Asian American authored book to be part of the roster of Literature to Life. The Song Poet is the first Hmong American work to be commissioned as an opera. In addition to books for adults, Yang is the author of several books for children: A Map Into the WorldThe Shared Room, and The Most Beautiful Thing. Her titles have been recognized by the National Book Critics Circle, the Daytons Literary Peace Prize, the Chautauqua Prize, and garnered numerous Minnesota Book Awards. Yang is the recipient of a 2019 Sally Award in the Arts for Social Impact and the Edelstein-Keller Writer in Residence at the University of Minnesota for 2020-2022. 

You can learn more about Kao Kalia Yang at

  • MFA Creative Writing | Columbia University 2005
  • BA American Studies | Carleton College 2003
Work History
  • Author, Activist & Professor
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