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Visiting writer shares personal immigrant experience

Published: Apr 04 2017
Visiting writer shares personal immigrant experience - Photo
The Bismarck State College Visiting Writers Series hosts author Kao Kalia Yang on Monday, April 10, as part of the month-long BSC ArtsQuest celebration on campus. A public reading, Q&A session and book signing of her books “The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir” and “The Song Poet” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in BSC’s National Energy Center of Excellence Basin Electric Auditorium.
Earlier in the day, Yang will hold an informal discussion in the BSC Library at 12 p.m. to share her personal immigrant experience.

Driven to tell her family’s story after her grandmother’s death, “The Latehomecomer” is Yang’s tribute to the remarkable woman whose spirit held them all together. Beginning in the 1970s, as the Hmong were being massacred for their collaboration with the United States during the Vietnam War, Yang recounts the harrowing story of her family’s captivity, their daring rescue and narrow escape to overcrowded refugee camps in Thailand, and finally their arrival in America.
“The Song Poet” emerged from a conversation with Yang’s father, Bee Yang, a Hmong man whose life has been marred by war and poverty.
“My father told me that as a boy he used to go from the house of one neighbor to the next collecting the beautiful things people had to say to each other. By himself, he whispered the words to comfort his heart. One day the words escaped on a sigh and a song was born. ‘The Song Poet’ is me taking on my father’s story and his songs; it is a tribute to his form and the poetry that has sheltered us from the poverty of our lives,” Yang says.
Yang is an award-winning writer who has focused much of her work on her Hmong heritage. Born in Thailand’s Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, she immigrated to the United States at age 7 and now lives in the Twin Cities. She is a graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
The BSC Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by the BSC English Discipline of the Language, Literature, & Communication Department, with additional financial support from the BSC Foundation, BSC Embracing Diversity Committee, and BSC ArtsQuest.

About ArtsQuest
The BSC Departments of Language, Literature & Communication and Fine Arts & Humanities present ArtsQuest 2017, a month-long celebration of music, art, theater, literature and film. ArtsQuest highlights the talent of BSC students and brings guest artists to campus. All ArtsQuest events are open to the public with most presented at no charge. For more information, including a complete schedule of events, visit or