Kao Kalia Yang


Paul Hillmer

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Kao Kalia Yang was born in Ban Vinai refugee camp and came with her family to Minnesota in July 1987, when she was six years old. Attending school in St. Paul and graduating from Harding High School, Yang was accepted at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and went on to earn an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University. In 2008 Coffee House Press published her memoir, The Latehomecomer, which tells the story of her family in Laos, the refugee camps of Thailand, and their new life in Minnesota. Central to this story is Yang’s grandmother, who embodies the way of life her family left behind and the culture and identity to which they all hold. Along with her mother and her sister Der, Ms. Yang established Words Wanted, a business designed to help immigrants with writing, translating, and business services.


Some rights reserved. Others may copy, distribute, display, or perform verbatim copies of this work with attribution to the author and original source information cited. No modification, remixing, or adaptation of this work may be created without the written permission of Dr. Paul Hillmer, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Concordia University, St. Paul or the Concordia University Library and Archives.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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